A call for stronger OSCE action against increased discrimination of Christians in certain OSCE member states, as well as adherents of other minority faiths – Supplementary Item to the OSCE-PA

OSSE-PF Inför OSSE-PF:s sommarmöte den 4-8 juli i Luxemburg, har Björn Söder författat ett förslag till en sk Supplementary Item. För att förslaget skall behandlas vid sommarmötet krävs att 20 parlamentariker från 5 olika länder stödjer det. Nu återstår arbete med att få stöd för att förslaget skall behandlas under mötet.

DRAFT RESOLUTION

A call for stronger OSCE action against increased discrimination of Christians in certain OSCE member states, as well as adherents of other minority faiths

Principal Sponsor:  Mr Björn Söder (Sweden)

  1. Recalling that, when the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was established in the early 1990s, it took place in a context of a fundamentally new pan-European political opening, and hope for a future of ever closer international cooperation, liberty and tolerance – including freedom of religion, as underlined in the OSCE’s founding treaties such as the 1975 Helsinki Final Act,
  2. Commending the persistent efforts by both the OSCE as such and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to also defend and expand freedom of faith and belief across its membership area. This was shown for instance in its holding, in June 2017, of a major and highly successful conference in Vienna on the subject “Freedom of Religion or Belief: Issues, Opportunities, and the Specific Challenges of Combating Anti-Semitism and Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians, Muslims and Members of Other Religions.” ODIHR for its part gave a comprehensive account of the ‘hate crimes’ situation in the OSCE area in its study “Hate Crime against Christians”, published in July 2018,
  3. Greatly concerned that discrimination and outright oppression against minority religions in certain OSCE member countries seem to have increased in number and severity in recent times. This very much includes oppressive legal acts against various Christian denominations, which may serve to facilitate and encourage hate crimes against members of said denominations.
  4. Noting with apprehension that discrimination practices include:
  •  Vague or ambiguous legislation as regards religious freedom, allowing authorities to take arbitrary action toward certain churches, including raids and closures, inter alia against ‘house churches’ in rural regions that lack officially registered church buildings.
  • The interdiction for certain denominations to obtain or renew official registration of their status, or to hold services, or to perform missionary work, or to construct new church premises due to opaque or biased ‘zoning standards’.
  • Official stigmatisation of converts to Christianity, including pressure on them to forswear their faith; the confiscation of bibles and other religious literature; or restrictions on the formation of church office-holders, thereby obliging churches to send candidates abroad for further education or recruit office-holders from abroad.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

  1. Calls upon the OSCE participating States to take actions against the increased discrimination of Christians in certain OSCE member states, as well as adherents of other minority faiths.
  2. Recognizes the full sovereignty of all Christian denominations and their ecclesiastical bodies, their independence from political pressure and their unquestionable rights to make their own decisions regardless of political conflicts.
  3. Recommends, against this background, to the OSCE that it embark on new concrete projects in response to the many calls for action advocated by the Freedom of Religion Conference and in the ODIHR ‘Hate Crime” study, in order to overcome remaining discrimination against minority faiths.

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