jueves, 2 de mayo de 2013

Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1928 (2013)1Safeguarding human rights in relation to religion and belief and protecting religious communities from violence

Parliamentary Assembly
Assemblée parlementaire
F - 67075 Strasbourg Cedex | assembly@coe.int | Tel: +33 3 88 41 2000 | Fax: +33 3 88 41 2733
Resolution 1928 (2013)1
Provisional version
Safeguarding human rights in relation to religion and belief and
protecting religious communities from violence
Parliamentary Assembly
1. The Parliamentary Assembly is concerned about the increasing occurrence of violent attacks against
religious communities and individuals throughout the world on the basis of their religion or beliefs. It notes that
there is not only physical, but also psychological violence against persons because of their religion or beliefs
and it condemns such violence in unequivocal terms.
2. The Assembly recalls that freedom of thought, conscience and religion are universal human rights
enshrined in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5) and Article 18 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which every member State of the United Nations has committed to uphold:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change
his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest
his religion or belief, in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

3. The Assembly also wishes to draw attention to Article 18 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights and to the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and
of Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief; moreover, it reaffirms the utmost importance of the autonomy
of religious communities and of their separation from the State, as well as of the neutrality and impartiality of
the State on religious matters.
4. The Assembly has consistently drawn attention to the importance of upholding freedom of conscience
and of religion, which can only be subject to the limitations that are necessary in a democratic society. The
following texts are relevant in this context: Recommendation 1162 (1991) on the contribution of the Islamic
civilisation to European culture; Recommendation 1396 (1999) on religion and democracy; Recommendation
1720 (2005) on education and religion; Resolution 1464 (2005) on women and religion in Europe; Resolution
1510 (2006) on freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs; Recommendation 1804 (2007) on
State, religion, secularity and human rights; Resolution 1535 (2007) on threats to the lives and freedom of
expression of journalists; Resolution 1580 (2007) on the dangers of creationism in education; Resolution 1605
(2008) and Recommendation 1831 (2008) on European Muslim communities confronted with extremism;
Recommendation 1805 (2007) on blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech against persons on grounds
of their religion; Resolution 1743 (2010) and Recommendation 1927 (2010) on Islam, Islamism and
Islamophobia in Europe; and Recommendation 1957 (2011) on violence against Christians in the Middle East.
5. It recalls, in particular, Resolution 1510 (2006) on freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs,
in which it stated that “freedom of expression as protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on
Human Rights should not be further restricted to meet increasing sensitivities of certain religious groups”. It
emphasises that, as a general rule, freedom of expression should not be restricted to meet the sensitivities of
any group in a democratic society.
1. Assembly debate on 24 April 2013 (14th Sitting) (see Doc. 13157, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and
Democracy, rapporteur: Mr Volontè; and Doc. 13178, opinion of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced
Persons, rapporteur: Mr Türkeş). Text adopted by the Assembly on 24 April 2013 (14th Sitting).
Resolution 1928 (2013)
6. The Assembly condemns any instances of negative stereotyping of persons based on religion as well as
the advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
7. The Assembly also wishes to insist on the need to combat all forms of religious fundamentalism and of
manipulation of religious beliefs for terrorist purposes. Education and dialogue are two important tools that can
contribute towards the prevention of such negative and dangerous trends.
8. While it is generally accepted that religious communities are better protected in Europe than in Africa,
Asia and the Middle East, there are still problems being reported in Council of Europe member States. In some
member States in particular, recent constitutional reforms raise serious concerns with regard to their
compatibility with Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Assembly accepts that, if we are
to be credible in our representations to non-member countries, such problems must be recognised, confronted
and eliminated.
9. The Assembly therefore calls on member States to:
9.1. ensure equality of treatment before the State and public authorities of all individuals and
communities regardless of religion, faith or non-religious beliefs;
9.2. reaffirm that respect of human rights, democracy and civil liberties is a common basis on which
they build their relations with third countries, and ensure that a democracy clause, incorporating religious
freedom, is included in agreements between them and third countries;
9.3. take account of the situation of religious communities in their bilateral political dialogue with the
countries concerned, in particular those countries in which blasphemy laws are in force;
9.4. reaffirm that freedom of religion, conscience and belief is an essential part of the European
human rights system guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights;
9.5. comply with their commitments and obligations to guarantee the full enjoyment of this
fundamental right;
9.6. note the particular status of women and girls in many traditional religious settings, to protect
women and girls and to ensure that religion can never be invoked to justify violence against women, such
as honour killings, bride burning, forced marriages, female genital mutilation, even by members of their
own religious communities;
9.7. promote, both at national and Committee of Ministers level, a policy which takes into
consideration, in foreign relations, the question of the full respect for, and the effective protection of, the
fundamental rights of minorities defined by their religion or beliefs;
9.8. ensure that the religious beliefs and traditions of individuals and communities of the society are
respected, while guaranteeing that a due balance is struck with the rights of others in accordance with
the case law of the European Court of Human Rights;
9.9. accommodate religious beliefs in the public sphere by guaranteeing freedom of thought in relation
to health care, education and the civil service provided that the rights of others to be free from
discrimination are respected and that the access to lawful services is guaranteed;
9.10. ensure the right to well-defined conscientious objection in relation to morally sensitive matters,
such as military service or other services related to health-care and education, in line also with various
recommendations already adopted by the Assembly, provided that the rights of others to be free from
discrimination are respected and that the access to lawful services is guaranteed;
9.11. while guaranteeing the fundamental right of children to education in an objective, critical and
pluralistic manner, respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with
their own religious and philosophical convictions;
9.12. change their legal regulations whenever these go against the freedom of association for groups
(including churches) defined by their religion or beliefs;
9.13. ensure the full respect of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and relevant
jurisprudence by the European Court of Human Rights since 1949 and that the freedom of communities
and individuals defined by religion or belief is respected and exercised within the limits of the law;
9.14. recognise the need to provide international protection for those seeking asylum due to religious
Resolution 1928 (2013)
9.15. duly take into account the possible overlap between racism, xenophobia and religious hatred,
keeping in mind that these phenomena are often directed against migrant communities.
10. The Assembly further urges those non-member States which have the status of partner for democracy,
to move steadily towards acceptance of the above principles and values and resolves to monitor their
11. The Assembly further urges all States in which violence against communities and individuals defined by
religion or beliefs has occurred to:
11.1. unequivocally condemn not only attacks on innocent people, but also the use of violence in
general, as well as all forms of discrimination and intolerance, including hate speech, based on religion
and beliefs;
11.2. pursue and reinforce their efforts to combat and prevent such cases and bring to justice the
11.3. promote correct and objective education about religions and non-religious beliefs, including those
of minorities;
11.4. actively support initiatives aimed at promoting the inter-religious and intercultural dimension of
11.5. ensure the effective protection of communities and individuals defined by religion or beliefs and
of their meeting places and places of worship, including those of minorities;
11.6. respect and protect the cultural heritage of the various religions.
12. The Assembly calls on all religious leaders in Europe to condemn attacks on religious communities and
other faith groups, and to accept the principle of equal respect for all human beings regardless of their religion.
13. The Council of Europe urges member States where the restitution of church property is not yet
concluded, to speed up this process and finish it in the short or medium term. The process should not be
negatively affected or influenced by any political ideology or government.
14. Finally, the Assembly calls on the European Union, in its political dialogue with non-member countries,
to enhance its monitoring of the situation of communities and individuals defined by religion or beliefs.

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