Protection of Religious Minorities in Conflict
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Christianophobia is spreading
- Increased instability is leading to increased violence against religious minorities
- 4/5 of all people killed for their religious beliefs are Christian
- Concerned especially about Christians in the Middle East where religious minorities are being hunted
- Urge all religious minorities to be included. Christians are often not included in global consideration although they are minorities in many places.
- International Community must guarantee safety to return home after conflict has ended. Religious minorities have a past and present foundation but also future in their home regions.
- Peace will only be achieved if all religious groups are allowed freedom to practice their faith.
- Hungary is sponsoring a conference in the near future to discuss how to work together and best practice for ensuring tolerance and respect for religious minorities
Archbishop Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States
- Conflict allows an increase in persecution and there is an urgent need to address this
- Religious persecution is not confined to one region. There are 28 areas of extreme religious freedom restrictions and in 23 it qualifies as outright persecution
- This includes stigmatization of unbelievers and apostates. In some regions most victims are Christians but there has also been an increase of anti-Semitic attacks
- 7 point strategy
- Fulfilment of responsibility to protect human rights. Rebuilding homes is not enough, need to rebuild a peaceful society
- Establish the rights for citizenship, irrespective of religion, by law and enforcement of those laws.
- Mutual autonomy of religions and State
- All religions teach firmly No violence in the name of God
- Effective inter-religious dialogue to combat the suggestion that conflict is inevitable
- Education in schools and especially religious schools to combat extremism and violence. Encourage dialogue and respect
- Stop production of instruments of hatred to inflict damage. If we make weapons, sooner or later they will be used.
Permanent Ambassador of the Philippines to the UN
- Many ways to govern but only one way to treat people –with decency
- Only by treating each other with decency can different religions live together
- If one is secure in one’s faith then one is not concerned by other faiths, it is insecurity that produces violence
- Not wanting just tolerance but mutual respect and understanding
- Always think and act as if you may be a victim
Institute of Cultural Diplomacy
- The fall of the Berlin Wall can be seen as a success of cultural diplomacy during the Cold War
- There is a need for action. How do we help to build dialogue, trust and understanding?
- Focus on listening rather than speaking. Hearing from religious minorities is a new form of cultural diplomacy, but is an essential part.
- Proposals of Cultural Diplomacy precedes action
Discussion with involvement of attendees
- Religion will remain a significant factor in our future world. Marginalisation of the religious is decreasing. Means religious leaders carry a great responsibility
- Data collection of persecution is needed for evidence
- Much work is needed at the grass roots level to overcome prejudice.
- Hypocrisy and political correctness has gained too much ground in preventing dialogue in Europe on persecution of religious minorities
- Administrative zones must not undermine national sovereignty, but agreement with nations should be made with UN involvement for safe return of refugees
- Good Christians cannot be anti-other religions
- A terrorist is a terrorist, not Muslim or Christian
- The voice of the people is not the voice of God in any religion
- Appeal to any religion needs to be based on their sacred scriptures
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
- Religious persecution is increased in areas of conflict
- Religion will continue to play a significant part in the future
- All religious minorities should be protected, including ones that may be majorities elsewhere. 4/5 of all people killed for their faith are Christians
- Religious leaders have a significant responsibility to educate people in the faith, recognizing that no true faith teaching accepts violence in the name of God
- Not just tolerance is wanted, but mutual acceptance and respect. This needs dialogue, hearing each other being more important than talking.
Web links for more information
N/ATags: United Nations, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions