On 27 January, EPRID hosted an online interview with Markus Grübel MP, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Global Freedom of Religion. Francesco Di Lillo (The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-day Saints) and Anna Hill (Open Doors International), both members of EPRID’s Board of Coordinators, had the privilege to co-host the first of a series of conversations about the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief.
In his current role since April 2018, Mr Grübel has had a distinguished political career, having first been elected to the Bundestag in 2002. Mr Grübel reflected on his activities during the German Presidency of the European Council, which took place July – December 2020. Although the nature of his work, in particular his ability to visit third countries, was affected by the pandemic, Mr Grübel and team launched the second report on the Global Status of Freedom of Religion in October 2020. The report looked at 30 countries as well as three issues of concern – blasphemy and anti-conversion laws, online hate speech and state education systems.
Mr Grübel shared his hopes for the current Portuguese Council presidency – among them, better cooperation with the new U.S. administration, an EU Special Envoy for FoRB with adequate resources and diplomatic power and deployment of the new Global Human Rights Sanctions regime as a means to target perpetrators of FoRB violations.
The 80 attendees, including Members of the European Parliament, EU officials, Special Envoys and civil society organizations, asked a range of questions on topics including the role of civil society, anti-Semitism in Europe and the importance of human rights provisions within agreements such as the EU-China Agreement on Investment.
The Federal Government’s Second Report on the Global Status of Freedom of Religion (Introduction) – PDF