On 20th June the second Religious Roundtable Europe this year was held. The Roundtable is an informal group of individuals from civil society who gather regularly to discuss FoRB (Freedom of Religous Belief) issues on a non-attribution basis. It is simply a safe space where participants gather, speak freely in sharing ideas and information, and propose joint advocacy actions to address specific FoRB issues and problems globally.
Participants are free to propose initiatives regarding the protection and promotion of freedom of religion, conscience, and belief in Europe and around the world, and other participants have then the possibility to join these initiatives and self-select into coalitions of the willing on such initiatives.
The Roundtable gathers intergovernmental, international and non-governmental organisations. Civil society organisations working on freedom of religion or belief and other human rights issues, interfaith and interreligious dialogue bodies, and religious or belief communities are also encouraged to participate in the Roundtable.
Chairpersons and Steering Committee members act in a personal capacity not as representatives of their organisations but current ones are noted here for interest: Thomas Schirrmacher (World Evangelical Alliance and President of the International Society for Human Rights), Lea Perekrests (Human Rights Without Frontiers), Kishan Manocha (ODIHR’s Senior Adviser on Freedom of Religion or Belief), Camelia Marin (Soteria International) and Eric Roux (EIFRF).
Martin Weightman (Director of All Faiths Network) is one of the Steering Committee members.
At the recent Roundtable His Holiness Hajji Dede Baba Edmond Brahimaj, world leader of the 15 million strong Bektashi Muslim community attended and addressed the meeting raising issues of discrimination against his community in countries around the world.
Another issue that was raised was Pakistan’s Blasphemy laws due to the potential for a death sentence being passed. At the earlier meeting this year the matter had been raised and we took on the task of writing a letter for signature of attendees. This is open for signature by any individual or group who choses and can be found HERE. The letter clarifies what we think should be the dividing line where the two freedoms of religion or belief clash and the limitations on each. Please let me know if you would like to add your signature to this letter.
You are all welcome to participate in future meetings of the Roundtable. For further information please contact me at [email protected].