The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a Recommendation in 17 points on "Violence against Christians in the Middle East“ on January 27, 2011.

The Recommendation also affirms that "freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, including the freedom to change one’s religion, are universal human rights."

The Recommendation and its explanatory memorandum were drafted by Italian Member of Parliament Luca Volontè. It was adopted by 125 votes in favor, with nine voting against and 13 abstentions.

A statement from the European Centre for Law and Justice welcoming the vote noted some Members of the Assembly also observed that negating the role of Christianity in European culture is "also a kind of violence" against Christians.

Referring to anti-Christian persecution by communist regimes and by Islamic fundamentalists, the ECLJ statement asserted that "the secularist ideology also discriminates against religions, at a different level." It also calls to "develop a permanent capacity to monitor the situation of governmental and societal restrictions on religious freedom and related rights in Council of Europe member states and in states in the Middle East, and report periodically to the assembly" and to "pay increased attention to the subject of freedom of religion or belief and to the situation of religious communities, including Christians, in its co-operation with third countries as well as in human rights reports."

Read full Recommendation as adopted:

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