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Germany: second “Ecumenical Report on Religious Freedom of Christians Worldwide” is released

The second “Ecumenical Report on the Religious Freedom of Christians Worldwide” was presented at a press conference in Berlin today by Ludwig Schick, Bishop of Bamberg and chairman of the Commission for the Universal Church of the German Bishops’ Conference, and by Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber, in charge of international affairs at the Evangelical Church in Germany. The report provides “an overview of the overall state of the human right to religious freedom”. The study is an expression of our “special solidarity” with our “brothers and sisters in the faith” who “endure numerous hardships and are discriminated against”, Mgr Schick explained. It looks in the first place at Christians, but “they are not the only focus”. Christians in some regions of the world are confronted with a “bitter daily reality” since they cannot “attend celebrations in a church or read the Bible with others”, Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber recalled. The situation is still “very critical” for Christians in the Middle East, in some Sub-Saharan African regions or in countries (China, Vietnam and some former Soviet countries) where religious activities are “restricted and controlled” by governments. There is also reference to Myanmar and India where repressions are carried out in the name of a “religious-cultural heritage”. And reference is also made to Europe “where religious symbols and beliefs are increasingly banned from the public sphere”. Special attention is paid to the obstacles to the “right to change one’s religion”.

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