The figures also show that "social hostilities involving religion - including violence and harassment by private individuals, organizations or groups - also have risen since 2007. The number of countries where people are experiencing the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion has risen from 39 to 56 throughout the study".
Figel also mentioned the UK Ministry for Foreign Affairs' special report on religious freedom. The report said that religious persecution against Christian is "almost at the level of genocide."
Figel also stressed that there is also good news on the religious freedom side.
Among the good news are items such as the EU Guidelines of 28 Member States, adopted in 2013; the establishment in the European parliament of first Intergroup for freedom of religion and belief and religious tolerance, with 38 members so far; the International Contact Group of Freedom of Religion and Belief diplomats, set up in 2015 and joined by a growing number of countries; and, finally, the establishment of the EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion Outside EU.
Figel finally advanced five recommendations: work on the freedom of religion and belief within a human rights framework; boost the freedom of religion and belief literacy; support the engagement with religious actors and inter-religious dialogue; implement a more strategic and contextualized approach at the country level; step up coordination among member States and European Union on religious freedom.
During his five-year mandate, Figel also launched the Declaration for Human Dignity for everyone and everywhere, signed by politicians and members of the academy.
As mentioned, Figel was also involved in the Asia Bibi case. The case was an evident abuse of religious freedom, and Figel could, in his capacity, shed light on the issues of religious freedom. Figel was able to go to Pakistan for the first time in December 2017 and paid a second visit in 2018.
"During the talks – Figel recalled – I spoke about the importance of dignity and justice for every Pakistani citizen, especially minorities. I tirelessly spoke with my high-level interlocutors about the importance of having clear signs that the Pakistani authorities are moving toward the rule of law and justice for all. Delayed justice is denied justice."
Figel's involvement in Asia Bibi's case was decisive for the Asia Bibi released. According to Figel, this showed that "European Union is a soft power that can facilitate positive changes in the world on justice, sustainable development, human rights protection and more effective promotion of religious freedom."
It is not yet known whether the office of the Special Envoy for Religious Freedom outside the EU will be renewed. The outcomes, however, showed that religious freedom is a crucial factor and that EU commitment in advancing religious freedom in the world might be of benefit for the same EU.