In an increasing number of countries, serious acts of violence are being perpetrated specifically against members of the Christian communities, such that they may be considered to be nothing short of persecution based on religious allegiances. The most recent brutal case was the killing of 500 people in Nigeria.
The list of countries in which cases of persecution occur now comprises North Korea, Iran, Nigeria, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, India, Sudan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.
On 15 November 2007 and 21 January 2010, the European Parliament adopted resolutions condemning all kinds of discrimination and intolerance based on religion, with explicit reference to acts of violence committed against the Christian communities. At the initiative of Italy, on 16 November 2009, the EU Foreign Affairs Council deplored this discrimination. The Parliamentary Assembly also addressed this issue in Recommendations 1804 and 1805 (2007) and 1831 (2008).
According to the fundamental international principles governing human rights, notably article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, and the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion and Faith, every individual has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and this right includes the freedom to practise the religion of choice, and also to change religions.
Considering that Europe is not immune from similar cases, the Assembly must firmly condemn all forms of discrimination and intolerance based on religion and faith, as well as acts of violence against any religious community, and ask the Committee of Ministers to urge the countries concerned to provide effective safeguards, and means of redress for the victims, protecting all religious communities, including Christians, from discrimination and repression.