Dear President Trump:
We are NGOs, some of them with ECOSOC consultative status, active in the defense of human rights and religious liberty, with a special experience and concerns for China, and write to ask for your urgent intervention in a question, literally, of life and death.
It regards an asylum seeker of a Chinese Christian new religious movement, The Church of Almighty God, who is detained in Detroit, Michigan, and threatened with immediate deportation back to China, where she will be arrested and will be at serious risk of being executed.
The European Pillar of Social Rights was jointly proclaimed and signed by the European Commission, European Parliament, and the Council at the Gothenburg Social Summit in November 2017. The European Institutions hold regular high-level meetings and dialogue seminars with churches, non-confessional, and philosophical organisations as partial fulfilment of Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
On 26 June 2018, the European Parliament brought together representatives from religious communities for a dialogue on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, a “set of 20 principles and rights that support the renewal of labour markets and welfare systems across the EU.”
Economic and political challenges have hurt the quality of life for many in Europe. Risk of unemployment and poverty remains high, many deal with precarious and unstable work, unpaid or underpaid internships are on the rise, and Europe is falling short of many goals outlined in the EU 2020 strategy.
Mairead McGuinness, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, emphasised the unique importance of churches and other religious communities in responding to these challenges, and defending human dignity and contributing to public policy debates. “You are present in every town and village across the 28 Member States.”
Interreligious Leadership Conference took place in Wien, on 28 – 29 April 2018, hosted by Universal Peace Federation, International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, Interreligious Association for Peace and Development.
Raffaella Di Marzio, very appreciate collaborator of Soteria International, spoke on Saturday April 28 afternoon, in Session III on the theme “The Role and Relevance of Religion in Building Inclusive, Peaceful and Prosperous Societies”.
Dr Raffaella di Marzio (Director, Center for Studies on Freedom of Religion, Belief and Conscience (LIREC), Italy) spoke on the positive influence of religion in society, referring to a number of studies, including an awareness project on minorities, the role of interfaith dialogue in conflict resolution, and religious freedom as a positive influence on economic growth.
On May 14, 2018, a new online news magazine has been launched at the International Book Fair of Torino, in Italy, Bitter Winter. The name refers both to the difficult situation of religious liberty in China and to a theme in classical Chinese painting.
The launch of Bitter Winter came at the end of FIRMA-Faiths in Tune, a five-day festival of religions and music that ran parallel with the Book Fair. At the Book Fair, two FIRMA awards were presented by an international jury, one to President Daisaku Ikeda of Soka Gakkai for his lifelong commitment to religious dialogue, and one to The Church of Almighty God, a Chinese new religious movement, for its resistance to religious persecution in China. Authorities, journalists, and a significant public attended both the festival, where The Church of Almighty God’s performers were among the most admired groups, and the award ceremony.
As we all know, it is a major obligation of all EU member states to respect and protect the freedom of conscience, thought and religion and to combat discrimination, and substantial resources are invested to diminish the symptoms of discrimination and non-tolerance. Still, discrimination and non-tolerance continue to challenge our societies.
Public fear and ignorance regarding unfamiliar religious traditions has increased. Discrimination and hate speech increasingly target religious minorities or New Religious Movements and the public debate is increasingly harsh on any group that is considered unfamiliar to society. This reaction on unfamiliar thoughts and religions started at the end of the last millennium, with France and Belgium’s arbitrary sect lists.
Instead of discussing ideas and insights, criminal intent was brought into speculation behind the ideas of witchcraft, subversive plans and mind manipulation. Volunteer work in new spiritual communities is called human trafficking, a consensual love affair is called sexual abuse, etc.
The experience demonstrated by humankind so far, indicates that often legality prevails over righteousness, but when things are considered just as an exclusive result of legislative decisions, human rights can miss the ethical and moral dimensions.
The situation of the Religious Freedom is a reason of concern for several NGOs.
The 15th March 2018, on the occasion of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations (Geneva), the french NGO with United Nations Consultative Status, the Coordination of the Associations and the People for Freedom of Conscience (CAP LC) organised an event on the topic of the Deterioration of Religious Freedom in Eastern Europe. It was focused on those following countries where this deterioration is unfortunately the most relevant : Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary and Russian Federation.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on 20 October 2010. In the resolution, the General Assembly, points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and established World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith, all done on a total voluntary basis.
Showing togetherness, several organizations as:
Center for Dansk-Muslimske Relationer- www.cedar.nu ; EMISCO- www.emisco.eu ; ENAR- www.enar-eu.org ; Soteria International - www.soteriainternational.org ; Youth for Human Rights - www.ungeformenneskeret tigheder.dk ; United for Human Rights – www.humanrights.com ; Vejen til lykke – www.vejentillykke.dk The Danish Baha'I Community - http://www.bahai.dk/ ; Scientology Volunteer Ministers - https://www.freedommag.org join the WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK, creating an event together and in this way celebrating the inclusiveness of all faiths in our lives.
The event is open to all people, all faiths and religions and will take place:
Date & Time: SATURDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2018 from 13.00 – 16.00.
Address: Tent city at Nytorv, Copenhagen K.