Home page News
OSCE conference on discrimination and intoler…

OSCE conference on discrimination and intolerance towards Christians

May 18, 2015 – A conference took place in Vienna on ‘Enhancing Efforts to Prevent and Combat Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, Focusing on Hate Crimes, Exclusion, Marginalization and Denial of Rights’.

It was organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and attended by representatives of the OSCE member states, religious communities and other non-governmental organizations. Among the speakers were Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for church-society relations and member of the OSCE Consultative Council on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Rev. Dimitry Safonov, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations section for interreligious contacts, and Ms. Ye. Agapova, vice-chair of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society.

In his address, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin spoke on a number of problems experienced by Christian communities in the OSCE region. Among them is defilement of objects and symbols honoured by Christians, hate speech towards Christians, aggressive challenges from militant secularism and ‘intolerance for the sake of tolerance’. He maintained that these problems have arisen first of all because many do not want to see Christians restoring and strengthening their influence on social processes.

In this connection, Father Vsevolod reminded the conference that Article 4 of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Beliefs, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1981, states, ‘All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life’.

‘Very often’, he said, ‘Christianophobia and hate speech towards Christians are manifested when Christians declare and realize their right to participate in social processes. They have the same right and that in equal measure as supporters of materialism, socialism, capitalism, ecological thinking, conservatism, liberalism or any other philosophical or political doctrine. In most legal systems today, worldviews are equal, and it means that their bearers should have equal opportunities to influence society, to define its future, its structure, character and order. Many Christians believe that they are called to make a valid and resolute impact on any processes taking place in the spheres of social, economic and cultural life. The denial of this right, the calls to prevent any religious influence on society, to make the public space ‘free’ from religion and its symbols is a clear urge towards discrimination’.

Father Vsevolod spoke at length on problems of education, calling to observe the rights of believing parents and children to have the school education corresponding to moral and religious principles held by their families. He reminded the conference that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1961 states, ‘The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions’. In its turn, Article 5 of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief states, ‘Every child shall enjoy the right to have access to education in the matter of religion or belief in accordance with the wishes of his parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, and shall not be compelled to receive teaching on religion or belief        against the wishes of his parents or legal guardians, the best interests of the child being the guiding principle’.

Father Vsevolod called for a systemic analysis of the problems involved in the discrimination and intolerance towards Christians and called the OSCE member states to undertake to solve these problems.

In his address, A. Viktorov, director of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs department for humanitarian cooperation and human rights, stressed that ‘beginning from the previous OSCE high-level conference in 2011 in Rome, this organization has been increasingly aware that Christianity, its holy places and adherents are subjected to persecution, violence and discrimination in the OSCE space. And the manifestations of intolerance and discrimination are seen even in the OSCE member states in which Christians comprise a majority. Among these manifestations are attacks on clergy, opposition to religious events, destruction and defilement of Christian churches and cemeteries, attempts to remove religious symbols from public places, infringement on Christians’ freedom of expression, discrimination in economic life and other spheres. There are increasing vandal acts, arsons, theft of Christian valuables and cultural heritage objects. Some mass media, under the cover of freedom of expression, dare mock at Christian values. The positive discrimination of some religious minorities leads to the violation of rights of the Christian majority. It often comes to absurdity as it is forbidden to wear religious symbols, to install Christmas trees, etc. Not the least role in the growth of these negative tendencies is played by aggressive Western neo-liberalism and militant secularism aimed at undermining spiritual, moral and traditional foundations of society. In addition, disbalances in implementing the policy of multiculturalism against the background of increasing immigration have led to the neglect of the role and importance that Christianity had in the historical process of formation of common European values which served as the foundation of European integration’.

Rev. Dimitry Safonov cited a whole number of facts pointing to the violation of rights of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, such as capture of churches by schismatics, pressure put on clergy, etc. He also pointed to the grievous situation of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa and called the OSCE to make the protection of rights of Christians a priority in its work and to consider the situation of Christians in building relations with countries in this region.

Ms. Agapova, in her remarks, drew the attention of the conference to the suffering of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa and in south-east Ukraine.

Patriarchia.ru

DECR Communication Service

Поделиться:
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs regular session of Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod

17.06.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs meeting of Supreme Church Council

15.06.2021

Patriarch Kirill congratulates Mr. Naftali Bennett on his election as head of the Government of the State of Israel

14.06.2021

Congratulations of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to Raul Castro Rus on his 90th birthday

03.06.2021

Address by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the occasion of the 75 th anniversary of Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations

24.05.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with speaker of South Korean Parliament

22.05.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with episcopate of Orthodox Church of Moldova

16.05.2021

Condolences of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the death of the Indonesian Christian leader Bishop Soritua Nababan

10.05.2021

Paschal Message of Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monastics and All the Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church

01.05.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets Serbian minister of foreign affairs

16.04.2021

Holy Synod members commemorate Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and late archpastors of Russian Church

13.04.2021

Address delivered by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the session of the Holy Synod on 13th April 2021

13.04.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs Holy Synod’s first session in 2021

13.04.2021

Condolences of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

10.04.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over the terrorist attack in Makassar

29.03.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs regular session of Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod

17.06.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: For me, creativity is a ‘side product’ of Church ministry

13.06.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk receives National Award of the Russian Federation

12.06.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Preaching Christ and the Gospel is what I have dedicated my life to.

09.06.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk is awarded Russian Federation State Prize

09.06.2021

“The Gospel according to Dostoyevsky” book by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk has come out

04.06.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Gospel does not provide answers for all occasions, but offers guidelines to help us know the will of God

31.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Orthodox education today is comparable in quality to secular education

30.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Each conceived human being should have the right to life by law

30.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: By Accusing the Russian Church, Patriarch Bartholomew tries to justify his anti-canonical acts

29.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: We are always close to our flock

25.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the Department for External Church Relations safeguards the sacred boundaries of our Church

24.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Russian Orthodox Church prays for peace in Jerusalem

23.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the US secretary of state has shown that the “OCU” is a political project

23.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the work of the DECR can be compared to the service of border-guards

20.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: God does not want to condemn, but to save us

07.03.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents

24.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins

19.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life

17.01.2021

On commemoration day of St. Catherine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields  the representation of the Orthodox Church in America

07.12.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people

29.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates on commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn at the church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God

19.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should remember that the life of each human being is in the hands of God

06.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible

25.10.2020

Metropoplitan Hilarion: The cross which was an instrument of dishonourable execution becomes the symbol of salvation for millions of people

27.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Eucharist is the wedding feast, to which Lord Jesus Christ invites each of us

13.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Faith alone is not enough for salvation

30.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: God is willing to give everyone a wonderful gift of faith, but people must be willing to accept it

16.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should be mindful of the value of human life

02.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates liturgy at Church of Antioch’s Moscow Representation on its patron saint’s day

26.07.2020

Feedback

Fields marked by * are mandatory required

Send a message