BRUSSELS, 26 JUNE 2019 – Cultural and religious diversity is, now more than ever, colouring our lives and our societies. On this European Day of Freedom of Religion or Belief, the European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID) calls on all governments to embrace, respect and protect this diversity.

Respect for diversity is the cornerstone of a cohesive and harmonious society.

The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is an essential element for social cohesion.

It is crucial that European institutions and other relevant actors recognise the spiritual and moral dimensions of human life and place them at the very heart of EU policies and practices.

Freedom of Religion or Belief includes all religions, faiths and philosophies of life, theistic as well as non-theistic or atheistic. On this day, EPRID stresses the need to protect this fundamental freedom. This can include legal, practical or other legitimate and necessary measures. Advancing this freedom protects our societies against divisive forces that advance false claims of national, cultural, or religious superiority.

The European Day on Freedom of Religion or Belief marks the adoption of the EU Guidelines on the protection and promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief. EPRID stands in solidarity with all defenders of Freedom of Religion or Belief and with all victims of violations of this precious human right. The platform calls on all people, regardless of their position in society, to do their utmost to make freedom of thought, conscience and religion a reality, to defend and protect victims, and to support all those who put their safety and security on the line to protect this fundamental human right.