Written by Martina Prpic,
Although on the EU agenda for decades, recent events, such as the migration crisis and the issues with the rule of law in some Member States, have brought the issue of values back into focus. EU values are those of inclusion, freedom and respect for diversity, including religion. Freedom of religion and belief has significant protections in the EU and under the international legal framework.
Religion, represented by churches, religious communities and other actors, is also a significant factor in the protection and promotion of human rights, both in the world and in the European Union. International human rights bodies have even formalised the participation of religious actors, mostly through exchanges and dialogues, and the European Union is no exception. Its Article 17 Dialogue with churches, religious and philosophical organisations offers an opportunity for those groups to make their voices heard at EU level. Religious actors have made significant contributions in, for example, migration, deradicalisation, social justice and education for tolerance.
However, the role of religion in the human rights arena is sometimes perceived as challenging, since some religious actors and some secular human rights actors may not see eye-to-eye in some areas. Experts therefore suggest that it is important to maintain that all human rights have equal worth, that everyone who may be affected by the issue is included in the dialogue, and to try to find a compromise that will not alienate any party from further cooperation.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Religion and human rights‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.