This October, the Observatory submitted a complaint against Germany to the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Below you find the list of infringements on human rights with regards to Christianity which we monitor in Germany.
The Oct 2nd seminar, which was organised by different politicial groups together with the COMECE, concluded that Christians in Europe are being more and more sidelined and marginalised, partly by social hostility and partly by government restrictions. Significant efforts are required to eliminate discriminatory actions against Christians. Freedom of religion has to be ensured not only for minorities, but for Christians as well. Public attention must be raised to issues which are not covered by the media and a permanent dialogue should be established on major issues. Likewise, cross-party initiatives must also play a stronger role in this process.
The Pew Research Center finds that United Kingdom, France, Germany, Greece and Romania are among the countries of high and growing social hostility against religion.
Find here the intervention of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe on September 26th, 2012, in Warsaw. Topic: Freedom of Assembly of Christians violated West of Vienna.
The US-based Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute published in 2012 a report on "Religious Hostility in America". Read here the executive summary.
The ECtHR hears four cases of religious discrimination of Christians at work against the UK. Read here the press release of the European Center for Law and Justice, including a summary of the four cases.
Since the creation of the under-directory for general information (SDIG - Sous-direction de l’information générale) on 1st July 2008, a periodical state of affairs of attacks on places of worship and tombs in France has been conducted by introducing a constant inventory method. Profanations of places of cult are a classic form of racist and anti-Semitic violence, but the Christian symbols are from far the most targeted, from 82% to 90% of the cases depending of the year.
On June 28, 2012 Italy’s foreign affairs office officially opened an Observatory on Religious Liberty focussing on all countries of the world but Italy. The observatory aims to support Italian international diplomacy with regards to violations against religious liberty.
On 26 - 27 June 2012 the OSCE/ODIHR held a meeting entitled "The Role of Civil Society in Combating Hate Crimes against Christians", hosted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. The seminar gathered more than 40 civil society organizations dealing with intolerance against Christians in the OSCE area. The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness on the concept of hate crimes and different forms of intolerance, and to train the participants in how to document such crimes. The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians participated.
The European Court of Human Rights published a judgment in the important case of Fernandez-Martínez c. Espagne (application no 56030/07) in which it concluded by six votes to one that “the choice of the bishop not to renew the contract of a teacher who is a married priest and activist of the Pro-Optional Celibacy Movement comes under the principle of religious freedom, as protected by the Convention”.
Parents “have the right and duty to choose schools inclusive of homeschooling, and they must possess the freedom to do so, which in turn, must be respected and facilitated by the State.”
Turkey has been named as one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom, along with countries such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
In the report "Clearing the Ground", UK parliamentarians say after a six month investigation that Christians are facing genuine legal difficulties in Britain. They suggest to promote a concept of “reasonable accommodation” for religious belief in the public sphere. The report criticises the Equality Act for failing to deal with the tensions between different strands of equality. It also says that the Equality Commission should be reviewed and restructured so that it better includes and represents religious beliefs. It also says some court rulings have relegated religious belief, effectively creating a hierarchy of rights.
“Christians in the UK face problems in living out their faith and these problems have been mostly caused and exacerbated by social, cultural and legal changes over the past decade... Christians in the UK are not persecuted. To suggest that they are is to minimize the suffering of Christians in many parts of the world... But the experiences of Christians in the UK seeking to live out their beliefs and speak freely illustrate a very real problem in the way religious belief, and in particular Christianity is understood and handled. The problem is a pressing challenge to our idea of a plural society."
Roger Trigg, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, and Academic Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Kellogg College, Oxford, shows in his book "Equality, Freedom, and Religion" how freedom of religion is often trumped by other rights and therefore subject to erosion.
‘Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is one of the foundations of a ‘democratic society’ within the meaning of the Convention", pronounced the judges of the European Court of Human Rights.
French Governmental Services of Classified Information (les Renseignements Généraux) released a report saying that 522 sites have been the target of desecrating acts in 2010. This represents a 34% increase compared to 2009 (389 acts) which had already known a 46% increase compared to 2008 (266 acts). This thus represents a 96% increase in two years. Figures of the year 2010 identify 214 acts of vandalism towards cemeteries, 272 towards chapels, 26 towards war memorials and 10 towards crosses or calvaries.
Premier Christian Media, a Christian media company, committed to monitoring the increasing marginalisation of Christianity in British public life, gather evidence through consultations, public polling and content from our multi-media platforms. Read the key findings of the report here.
United Nations High Commissionar on Human Rights presents a report of the Secretary General - "Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief"
Christians in the UK feel more side-lined than ever. 74% of respondents of a ComRes study say: „There is more negative discrimination against Christians than people of other faiths.“ In November 2009, „only“ 66% said so. More than 60% feel that the marginalisation of Christians is increasing in the government (66%, which compares to 59% in November 2010), in the workplace (61%), and in the public (68%). 71% of the responsdents perceive an increase in the marginalisation of Christians in the media.