Is the Council of Europe really impartial on religion?

  • post Type / Campaigns
  • Date / 28 June 2007

On the eve of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) debate on intercultural and interreligious dialogue, IPPFEN* and IHEU protest against the decision by the Parliamentary Assembly to limit a highly topical debate to Friday, 29 June, a day when many parliamentarians and media will not be present. (The draft resolution is available here.)

It is a veiled attempt to undermine the issue. This seems highly questionable, as intercultural and interreligious dialogue is a priority of the Council of Europe.

“Are transparency and objectiveness guiding the debate?” asked the two non governmental organisations (NGOs) enjoying participatory status with the Council of Europe.

Worries are also caused by the sudden deletion from the agenda of the report on the dangers of creationism, coupled with the omission of the PACE recommendations on the protection of Women’s right violations in the name of religion (Res. 1464/2005) from the PACE publication on Intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

These concerns were voiced during today’s seminar on sects and religious cults challenges to human rights protection organised by the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.
Furthermore the Committee on Culture, Science and Education has also denounced the “confused and probably irregular conditions” of the procedure and has underlined that freedom of thought and discussion is a fundamental value of the Council of Europe.

* The International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network – IPPFEN is the biggest non governmental organisation defending sexual and reproductive health and rights for all in Europe and is one of the 6 regions of IPPF worldwide.

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