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Violence against religious communities

Doc. 13157: compendium of written amendments | Doc. 13157 | Final version

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ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly is concerned about the increasing occurrence of violent attacks against religious communities throughout the world. It notes that there is not only physical, but also psychological violence against persons because of their religion and it condemns such violence in unequivocal terms.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 1, in the first sentence, replace the words "against religious communities throughout the world" with the following words: "against religious communities and individuals throughout the world on the basis of their religion or belief" ; and in the second sentence, after the word "religion" insert the following words: "or beliefs".

Replace the title of the Resolution with the following words: "Safeguarding human rights in relation to religion and belief".

2The 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.”
3The 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.
4The 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.
5It 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.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 5, insert the following paragraph:

"Caricatures and films ridiculing or insulting a religion is not freedom of expression but quite the contrary an indication of intolerance and xenophobia. The aim is to provocate the believers of that religion. These types of acts do not contribute to world peace or the world's intellectual heritage, do not add anything positive to any society except for segregation and hurt. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls on all member states to ensure respect for all religious and sacred symbols, religious figures, holy books, Prophets and God, as the opposite deeply hurts the devout believers of a religion, who can believe that their identity and community is being victimized if their religion or its sacred symbols are subjected to public ridicule or vilification. This offence should be considered within the framework of 'hate crimes'."

Explanatory note

The European Court of Human Rights in a judgement (case of I.A. v. Turkey, Application no. 42571/98 of 13 September 2005) has come to the decision that the freedom of expression was not violated by the conviction of a book publisher for puplishing insults againt "God, Religion, the Prophet and the Holly Book". The Court stresses that a distinction is to be made between "provocative" opinions or abusive attacks on one's religion and freedom of expression.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 5, insert the following paragraph:

"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."

6The Assembly also wishes to insist on the need to combat all forms of religious fundamentalism and of manipulation of religious beliefs, which are so often the cause of present-day terrorism. Education and dialogue are two important tools that can contribute towards the prevention of such negative and dangerous trends.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 6, replace the words ", which are so often the cause of present-day terrorism" with the following words: "for terrorist purposes".

Explanatory note

Suggesting that "religious beliefs are so often the cause of present day terrorism" runs contrary to the purposes of this report. Instead of religious beliefs, the use of religion for terrorist purposes lies at the heart of violence against religious communities.

7While 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.

22 April 2013

Tabled by Ms Pelin GÜNDEŞ BAKIR, Mr Şaban DİŞLİ, Mr Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ, Mr Samad SEYIDOV, Ms Sevinj FATALIYEVA, Ms Sahiba GAFAROVA

If adopted, amendments 9, 11 falls.

Votes: 17 in favor 137 against 3 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 7.

Explanatory note

Many tragic incidents in the past revealed that this paragraph can not be accepted as true. Based on the statistics taken in March 2011, the research of the Amadeu Antonio Foundations shows that between 1990 and 2005 there were 182 fatalities due to right wing extremist violence in Germany alone.

22 April 2013

Tabled by Mr Márton BRAUN, Mr Gergely GULYÁS, Mr Ferenc KALMÁR, Mr Pedro AGRAMUNT, Mr Giorgi KANDELAKI, Ms Carmen QUINTANILLA

Falls if amendment 2 is adopted.

Votes: 135 in favor 15 against 4 abstentions

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 7, insert the following words: "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"

22 April 2013

Tabled by Lord Donald ANDERSON, Sir Christopher CHOPE, Lord John E. TOMLINSON, Dame Cheryl GILLAN, Mr Jim DOBBIN

Falls if amendment 2 is adopted.

Votes: 145 in favor 4 against 3 abstentions

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 7, insert the following words: "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."

8 The Assembly therefore calls on member States to:

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 8, insert the following paragraph:

"The Assembly further urges those non-member states which have the status of Partners for Democracy, to move steadily to acceptance of the above principles and values and resolves to monitor their compliance."

8.1reaffirm 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;

In the draft resolution, before paragraph 8.1, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure equality of treatment before the State and public authorities of all individuals and communities regardless of religion, faith or non-religious beliefs;"

Explanatory note

This amendment would ensure that the equality of all persons before the State is underlined in this report. The report fails to give any protection to non-religious people or people who are not exercising a religion on a daily basis. It would also provide a more positive language to the report.

8.2take account of the situation of religious communities in their bilateral political dialogue with the countries concerned;

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 8.2, insert the following words: "in particular those countries in which blasphemy laws are in force".

8.3reaffirm 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;
8.4comply with their commitments and obligations to guarantee the full enjoyment of this fundamental right;

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 8.4, insert the following paragraph:

"note the particular status of women and girls in many traditional religious settings and 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;"

Explanatory note

Women and girls face discrimination based on traditional religious practices and this amendment would ensure their protection.

8.5promote, both at national and Committee of Ministers level, a policy which takes into consideration the question of the full respect for, and the effective protection of, the fundamental rights of religious minorities in foreign relations;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 8.5, replace the words "religious minorities" with the following words: "minorities defined by their religion or belief".

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 8.5, insert the following paragraph:

"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 on Human Rights;"

Explanatory note

This amendment would ensure that the equality of all persons before the State is underlined in this report. The report fails to give any protection to non-religious people or people who are not exercising a religion on a daily basis. It would also provide a more positive language to the report.

8.6accommodate religious beliefs in the public sphere by guaranteeing freedom of thought in relation to health care, education and the civil service;

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 8.6, add the following words: "provided that the rights of others to be free from discrimination are respected and that the access to lawful services is guaranteed;"

8.7ensure the right to well-defined conscientious objection in relation to morally sensitive matters, such as military service, in line also with various recommendations already adopted by the Assembly;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 8.7, after the words "such as military service", insert the following words: "or other services related to health-care and education,".

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 8.7, add the following words: "provided that the rights of others to be free from discrimination are respected and that the access to lawful services is guaranteed;"

8.8in full respect of the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe, protect the liberty of parents, including in loco parentis, to ensure the religious and moral education and teaching of their children;

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 8.8 with the following paragraph:

"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;"

8.9change their legal regulations whenever these go against the freedom of association for religious groups and churches;

23 April 2013

Tabled by Mr Michael CONNARTY, Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Mr Jim SHERIDAN, Dame Angela WATKINSON, Mr John PRESCOTT

If adopted, amendments 3, 23 falls.

Votes: 139 in favor 7 against 1 abstention

In the draft resolution, paragraph 8.9, replace the words "religious groups and churches" with the following words: "groups (including churches) defined by their religion or belief".

22 April 2013

Tabled by Ms Pelin GÜNDEŞ BAKIR, Mr Şaban DİŞLİ, Mr Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ, Mr Samad SEYIDOV, Ms Sevinj FATALIYEVA, Ms Sahiba GAFAROVA

If adopted, amendment 23 falls. Falls if amendment 27 is adopted.

In the draft resolution, in paragraph 8.9, replace the word "churches" with the following word: "places".

Explanatory note

This minor amendment is just for the purpose of including all world religions in the report.

23 April 2013

Tabled by Mr Şaban DİŞLİ, Mr Mevlüt ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Mr Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ, Ms Ganira PASHAYEVA, Ms Tülin ERKAL KARA

Falls if amendments 27, 3 are adopted.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 8.9, after the word "churches", add the following words: "and mosques".

Explanatory note

Reference to only one religious group, including of places of worship, might be perceived as being discriminatory because there are no references to the others, even if it may be intended to cover all religious institutions.

8.10ensure the full respect of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that the freedom of religious communities is respected and exercised within the limits of the law.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 8.10, after the words "the European Convention on Human Rights", insert the following words: "and relevant jurisprudence by the ECHR since 1949".

Explanatory note

The paragraph would suggest to limit ourselves to the legal situation of the year 1949, when the European Convention on Human Rights was adopted. A large body of legislation on conscientious objection and other relevant issues has been passed by ECHR and should be reflected in the Resolution.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 8.10, replace the words "religious communities" with the following words: "communities and individuals defined by religion or belief".

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 8.10, insert the following paragraph:

"recognise the need to provide international protection for those seeking asylum due to religious persecution".

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 8.10, insert the following paragraph:

"duly take into account the possible overlap between racism, xenophobia and religiouos hatred, keeping in mind that these phenomena are often directed against migrant communities."

9The Assembly further urges all States in which violence against religious communities has occurred to:

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9, replace the words "religious communities" with the following words: "communities and individuals defined by religion or belief".

9.1unequivocally condemn not only attacks on innocent people, but also the use of violence in general, as well as all forms of discrimination and intolerance based on religion and beliefs;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.1, after the word "intolerance", add the following words: ", including hate speech,".

Explanatory note

Hate speech as being one of the main sources of discrimination and violence based on religion might also lead to human rights violations as such; this should also be specified in the text.

9.2pursue and reinforce their efforts to combat and prevent such cases and bring to justice the perpetrators;
9.3promote correct and objective education about religions, including those of minorities;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.3, after the word "religions" insert the following words: "and non-religious beliefs".

9.4actively support initiatives aimed at promoting the inter-religious dimension of dialogue;

23 April 2013

Tabled by Mr Michael CONNARTY, Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Mr Jim SHERIDAN, Dame Angela WATKINSON, Mr John PRESCOTT

Votes: 145 in favor 2 against 1 abstention

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.4, replace the words "inter-religious" with the following words: "inter-cultural".

9.5ensure the effective protection of religious communities and of their places of worship, including those of minorities;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.5, replace the words "religious communities" with the words "communities and individuals defined by religion or belief"; and after the word "their" insert the following words: "meeting places and".

9.6respect and protect the cultural heritage of the various religions.

23 April 2013

Tabled by Mr Michael CONNARTY, Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Mr Jim SHERIDAN, Dame Angela WATKINSON, Mr John PRESCOTT

Votes: 38 in favor 108 against 9 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.6, after the word "religions" add the following words: "and non-religious beliefs".

10The 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.

23 April 2013

Tabled by Mr Michael CONNARTY, Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Mr Jim SHERIDAN, Dame Angela WATKINSON, Mr John PRESCOTT

Votes: 41 in favor 100 against 11 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 10, replace the words "religious leaders" with the words "religious, humanist and secularist leaders"; replace the words "other faith groups" with the words "other belief groups"; and after the word "religion" add the words "or belief".

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 10, insert the following paragraph:

"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 short or medium term. The process should not be negatively affected or influenced by any political ideology or government."

11Finally, the Assembly calls on the European Union to enhance its monitoring of the situation of religious communities in its political dialogue with non-member countries, and to link its European Neighbourhood Policy, including financial aid, to the degree of human rights protection, including that of freedom of religion, and awareness in those countries.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 11, replace the words "religious communities" with the words "communities and individuals defined by religion or belief".

In the draft resolution, paragraph 11, delete the words "and to link its European Neighbourhood Policy, including financial aid, to the degree of human rights protection, including that of freedom of religion, and awareness in those countries".

23 April 2013

Tabled by Mr Michael CONNARTY, Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Mr Jim SHERIDAN, Dame Angela WATKINSON, Mr John PRESCOTT

Falls if amendment 20 is adopted.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 11, after the word "religion", insert the following words: "and belief".