The European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID) welcomes the appointment of a new EU Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU. We are looking forward to working with Mr. Christos Stylianides in his new role.

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a precious human right. It protects people subscribing to any philosophy of life. Although it might be a given for most Europeans, this is not the case for the majority of the world’s population. FoRB is a cornerstone of diversity and an essential element for democracy and human development. The Special Envoy is a great resource to support any cooperation and development initiatives.

EPRID is an interfaith platform promoting and defending the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in the world as defined by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The platform represents various religious communities, civils society organisations and human rights defenders in Europe and abroad.

As a platform, we warmly welcome Mr Christos Stylianides as EU Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU. Good working relations with the European External Action Service (EEAS), the Parliament, and civil society are crucial for an effective implementation of the mandate. We are looking forward to meeting Mr Stylianides and his team to learn more about his vision and priorities, and how we as a platform can support him.

EPRID’s members work closely with individuals and communities in many countries where FoRB is violated. As such, we can testify to the added value of a Special Envoy for the promotion of FoRB and our platform is ready to continue to support this mandate. The Special Envoy sends a strong signal to all international and multi-lateral partners about the importance the EU attaches to this human right.

Mr Christos Stylianides succeeds the first EU Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU, Mr Ján Figel’, both former EU Commissioners. EPRID thanks Mr Figel’ for his support for Freedom of Religion or Belief and for the work of our platform and wishes him all the best.

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