Persecution of Christians:
a most regrettable wavering on a strong diplomatic EU commitment
COMECE very much regrets that the 27 Foreign Ministers of the EU failed yesterday to agree on a joint declaration condemning religious persecution. This diplomatic wavering is all the more incomprehensible as innocent lives are being cut short in atrocious attacks against Christians and other minorities all over the world.
The agreement failed due to internal wrangling among the Ministers over a specific reference to Christians being included as victims of religious persecution. COMECE wonders about this wavering since public opinion in Europe has already become aware of the particular situation of Christians in the Middle East after the recent attacks on churches in Iraq and Egypt.
Furthermore, the European Parliament (on 20 January) and the Council of Europe (on 27 January ) have already paved the way for a specific condemnation of the persecution of Christians by adopting both resolutions explicitly condemning violence against Christians.
The recent attacks against Christians are not isolated cases. Statistics on religious freedom in recent years show that the majority of acts of religious violence are perpetrated against Christians. The situation has become more serious in the Middle East, especially in Iraq where persecution could lead in the coming months to the disappearance of Christian communities.
The commitment of the EU to stand for fundamental rights and religious freedom is clearly stated in the EU Treaty and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and has been reaffirmed in many declarations.
Therefore we now expect that the EU will take concrete measures to turn these general principles into significant political action.