Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief

Delivered in Plenary - 13th June 2013

Mr President

Recently in Brussels I listened to the harrowing story of Mr Adamu Abila, a victim of devastating jihadi violence against Christians in Nigeria. Distressingly, Mr Abila is by no means alone. His story is a mere microcosm of the struggles felt by religious groups all over the world. I am therefore very supportive of the EEAS draft guidelines on the promotion and protection of peaceable practice of religious belief and I am extremely heartened to read of the positive responses of the European Union Member States so far.

It is absolutely paramount that we support the proactive nature of these guidelines in assisting European Union delegations worldwide to recognise violations of freedom and ensure a speedy and effective response as soon as discrimination on a religious basis is identified. With all the world’s major faiths residing side by side in my London constituency, I am proud to represent such a vibrant patchwork of religions and cultures and I am very supportive of any guidelines that encourage tolerance and facilitate the fight against religious persecution.