Dec 17, 2019
According to the latest report of the Observatory on Intolerance and discrimination Against Christians in Europe, there have been in the last year about 500 cases of anti-Christian discrimination on European soil.
Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world.
In Europe, the persecution might be subtle or take place in the form of attacks on sites of worship. The situation in the world is different. This is the reason why the exiting European Commission looked attentively at the religious persecutions and established the office of the EU Special Envoy for Religious Freedom outside the European Union.
EU announced the establishment of the office on the very day Pope Francis was given the Charlemagne Prize in the Vatican.
Jan Figel was chosen as the EU special envoy for religious freedom. In that capacity, Figel was able to carry out some remarkable successes, as the liberation of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death. The woman won her final appeal, but she was in danger in her country. It was thanks to Jan Figel that she and her family were able to leave Pakistan and find a haven in Canada.
The new European Commission, along with the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, will have to decide whether to renew the mandate to Figel or not.
On Oct. 15-16, an event about the "Inventory of religious freedom" took place in Brussels. The event's goal was to summarize the step forward in terms of religious freedom and assess how religious freedom is important for the future.
Jan Figel took the floor at the end of the meeting, wrapping up the discussion. In his intervention, he stressed that "Freedom of religion and belief is a condition of good governance, important for believers and non-believers," and it is "a civilizational objective and criterion, representing freedom of thought, conscience, religion."