Date of Meeting: 22 September 2017

Meeting Organizer: Holy See, Permanent Mission of Hungary, Permanent Mission of Philippines

ISJC Staff Present: Lt-Col Eirwen Pallant

Reporter: Lt-Col Eirwen Pallant

Which SDG does this topic cover? 16

Type of meeting: Panel Presentation

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
  1. Fulfilment of responsibility to protect human rights. Rebuilding homes is not enough, need to rebuild a peaceful society
  2. Establish the rights for citizenship, irrespective of religion, by law and enforcement of those laws.
  3. Mutual autonomy of religions and State
  4. All religions teach firmly No violence in the name of God
  5. Effective inter-religious dialogue to combat the suggestion that conflict is inevitable
  6. Education in schools and especially religious schools to combat extremism and violence. Encourage dialogue and respect
  7. 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


Tags: United Nations, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions