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ECR Party

28 June 2018, Brussels, Belgium

Faith And Freedom Summit

Join us at the Faith and Freedom Summit: Practicing what we Preach in Europe, that will take place on June 28th in Brussels, at the Solvay Library. 

The Faith and Freedom Summit: Practicing what we Preach in Europe is a non-partisan summit, which brings together leaders from the various fields of politics, government, academia, activism and the non-for-profit sector from across Europe and beyond, in order to propose and develop initiatives that will put Freedom of Religion or Belief in Europe back in the spotlights.

These summits on Faith and Freedom are particularly appropriate in a year in which we celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, a commitment which all European countries have signed, and a vision that requires increased dedication and action to go from an idealistic dream to a needed and expected reality.

Under international law, Freedom of religion or belief has two components:

(a) The freedom to have or not to have or adopt (which includes the right to change) a religion or belief of one’s choice, and

(b) The freedom to manifest one's religion or belief, individually or in community with others, in public or private, through worship, observance, practice and teaching.

With the adoption of the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or beliefin 2013, the EU has committed to advance this fundamental freedom in its external action, including through its financial instruments. In doing so, the EU is guided by the principles of non-discrimination and interrelatedness of human rights.

The EU "focuses on the right of individuals, to believe or not to believe, and, alone or in community with others, to freely manifest their beliefs".  While these protections are codified, we have not realized them in practice yet.  Faith and Freedom Summit seeks to remind the EU of the standards professed and push to put those ideals more fully into practice. 

Location

Speakers

Congressman Bob McEwen

Former Member, American Delegation to the European Parliament

Jan Figel

EU Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union

Amjad Bashir MEP

Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament

@AmjadBashirMEP

Salvatore Martinez

Rep of the Italian presidency at OSCE

Ahmed Shaheed

Special Rapporteur on human rights to UN Human Rights Council

Bashy Quraishy

Secretary General of EMISCO

Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros

Director of International Affairs for VOX

Dr. Eli Nacht

Official Representative of International Committee of Human Rights in Israel

Patricia Duval

Human Rights Attorney

Willy Fautre

Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International

Sam Brownback

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

Aaron Rhodes

President of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe

Marco Ventura

Professor of Law & Religion at University of Siena

Hans Noot

Director of the Gerard Noodt Foundation

Greg Mitchell

Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Roundtable

Vincent Berger

Former Jurisconsult of European Court of Human Rights

Thomas Schirrmacher

President of the International Society for Human Rights

Dr. Juan Ferreiro Galguera

Professor of Law and Religion, University of A Coruña

Rosita Soryte

Lithuanian diplomat, President of the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees

Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz

President of the Oxford Society of Law and Religion

Dr. Alessandro (Alex) Amicarelli

Chairman of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB)

Martin Weightman

Director of the All Faiths Network

Adina Portaru

Legal Counsel for ADF International in Belgium

Agenda

9:00-9:45

Registration and Coffee

9:45-9:55

Keynote Speech by Richard Milsom, Chief Executive of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe

9:55-10:10

Video Address by Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Religion or Belief

10:10-11:10

Activists Panel Discussion

While the EU has adopted strong commitments in favor of freedom of religion and belief in its external policy, too often its internal application of this fundamental right is left lacking. The distinguised religious freedom activists of this panel will discuss the need to consider the real issues that exist today regarding freedom of religion in EU member states, and explore ways for the EU to take responsibility to live up internally to what we preach externally. Discussion will be followed by Q&A with the room.

11:10-11:20

Keynote Speech by Jan Figel, EU Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union

11:20-11:40

Coffee Break

11:40-11:50

Keynote Speech by Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Archbishop and President of the International Society of Human Rights

11:50-12:40

Fireside Chat with Politicians

With the 2019 European elections in view, the politicians of this non-partisan panel will assess areas that need to be improved regarding the protection of freedom of religion or belief, and will discuss the possibilities to outline policies toward a greater respect of religious diversity in Europe. It shall provide participants with valuable insights into why EU citizens must enjoy a real freedom of religion or belief, at every level, and how this fundamental right could be given the importance it deserves in EU institutions. Discussion will be followed by Q&A with the room.

12:40-12:50

Special Address by Congressman Bob McEwen, Former Member, American Delegation to European Parliament

12:50-13:50

Lunch Break

13:50-14:00

Video Address by Sam Brownback, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

14:00-14:10

Keynote Speech by Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, USCIRF Commissioner and Vice-Chairwoman

14:10-14:20

Keynote Speech by Salvatore Martinez, Representative of the Italian Presidency of the OSCE, in Charge of Freedom of Religion, and President of the Vatican Foundation International Center Family of Nazareth

14:20-15:30

Law and Religion Panel Discussion

The distinguished legal and religious experts of this panel will discuss the challenging necessity of addressing Freedom of Religion or Belief as an important topic to be tackled by EU institutions. They will discuss how and why European institutions have both the capacity and ability to address freedom of religion in EU countries and a duty to do so.  Discussion will be followed by Q&A with the room.

15:30-15:50

Coffee Break

15:50-16:00

 

Keynote Speech

16:00-17:00

Activists Panel Discussion 

EU citizens must enjoy a real freedom of religion or belief, at every level, and if this fundamental right is not given the importance it deserves in the EU institutions, and in the EU instruments to protect the various freedoms of EU citizens, it is a symptom of failure for the EU.  This international high-level Human Rights activists’ panel will discuss how Freedom of Religion or Belief is or is not in the DNA of the European Union, explore international initiatives that exist outside and could be reproduced inside, real challenges such as the relationship between freedom of religion and the refugee issue, and the need to defend the freedom of conscience and religion of all individuals by rejecting and speaking out against bigotry, discrimination, harassment and violence, and so build a more equitable society for all.  Discussion will be followed by Q&A with the room.

17:00-17:20

Keynote Speech by Hans Noot, Director of the Gerard Noodt Foundation

17:20-17:30

Closing Remarks