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Comece: freedom of religion, meeting in Brussels on EU Guidelines jointly organised with EPP

(Brussels) The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and the European People’s Party (EPP) will be holding a meeting to assess the effects of the adoption in 2013 of the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief. The Conference, which will take place in Brussels on 26 April 2017, aims to identify the “the current challenges” that the Guidelines “represent for the EU” and to “re-launch the EU’s commitment to the practical promotion and protection of this cornerstone of human rights”, the organisers explain. The work will be kick-started by György Hölvényi, Co-Chair of the EPP Interreligious Dialogue & Intercultural Activities Service, and by Father Olivier Poquillon, General Secretary of COMECE. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, will discuss the new challenges, while Mercedes García Pérez, Head of the Human Rights Division of the European External Action Service (EEAS), will address the implementation of the Guidelines. Discussion will also focus on the role of the EU in third countries (Ján Figel’, Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief) and that of the European Parliament (MEP Mairead McGuinness, First Vice-President in the European Parliament responsible for Article 17) in defending this freedom. Towards the end, José Luis Bazán (COMECE Secretary) will make some proposals to make the Guidelines an effective working tool.

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