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Freedom of religion: Brussels, a meeting promoted by Comece and EPP. A challenge for the European Union

(Brussels) “EU’s guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief: what next?”: this is the title of the meeting due on April 26th in the Brussels Headquarters of the European Parliament at the initiative of the Commission of EU Bishops Conferences (Comece) and the European People’s Party (EPP). The goal is to take stock of the results of the adoption of the Guidelines in 2013 and look at how “such freedom challenges the European Union nowadays” so as to “increase the EU’s efforts to promote such fundamental human right”, the organisers explain. The co-president of the Inter-religious Dialogue and Intercultural Activities Service of the EEP, György Hölvényi, and the general secretary of Comece, father Olivier Poquillon, will open the meeting, while the UN special rapporteur on freedom of belief, Ahmed Shaheed, will talk about the “new challenges”. Mercedes García Pérez, director of the division for human rights of the European External Action Service, will address the problem of implementing the Guidelines. Other items on the agenda include the EU’s role in the third countries (Ján Figel’, special envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion and faith) and the role of the European Parliament in defending such freedom (Mairead McGuinness, MEP and first deputy president of the assembly in charge of implementing article 17). José L. Bazán (secretariat of Comece) will submit a few ideas to make the Guidelines an effective work tool.

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