EU — Council conclusions on Foreign Affairs

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

  • Intol­er­ance, dis­crim­i­na­tion and vio­lence on the basis of reli­gion and belief
  • EU Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive — Koso­vo
  • EU Com­mon Mil­i­tary List
  • Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil with Israel

COMMON SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

  • Mon­tene­gro — EU cri­sis man­age­ment oper­a­tions

Intol­er­ance, dis­crim­i­na­tion and vio­lence on the basis of reli­gion and belief
Fol­low­ing its dis­cus­sion at its Jan­u­ary meet­ing, the Coun­cil adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions: “The Coun­cil reaf­firms the strong com­mit­ment of the Euro­pean Union to the pro­mo­tion and pro­tec­tion of free­dom of reli­gion or belief with­out any dis­crim­i­na­tion, and recalls the com­pre­hen­sive con­clu­sions it adopt­ed in this respect on 16 Novem­ber 2009.

The Coun­cil express­es its pro­found con­cern about the increas­ing num­ber of acts of reli­gious intol­er­ance and dis­crim­i­na­tion, as epit­o­mised by recent vio­lence and acts of ter­ror­ism, in var­i­ous coun­tries, against Chris­tians and their places of wor­ship, Mus­lim pil­grims and oth­er reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties, which it firm­ly con­demns. Regret­tably, no part of the world is exempt from the scourge of reli­gious intol­er­ance.

The Coun­cil express­es its con­do­lences and sol­i­dar­i­ty to the coun­tries and indi­vid­ual vic­tims of such acts and pays trib­ute to the com­mit­ment of coun­tries to pre­vent them.
Free­dom of reli­gion or belief is a uni­ver­sal human right which needs to be pro­tect­ed every­where and for every­one. It is the pri­ma­ry duty of States to pro­tect their cit­i­zens, includ­ing per­sons belong­ing to reli­gious minori­ties, as well as all peo­ple liv­ing in their juris­dic­tion, and safe­guard their rights. All per­sons belong­ing to reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties and minori­ties should be able to prac­tice their reli­gion and wor­ship freely, indi­vid­u­al­ly or in com­mu­ni­ty with oth­ers, with­out fear of intol­er­ance and attacks.

Free­dom of reli­gion or belief is intrin­si­cal­ly linked to free­dom of opin­ion and expres­sion as well as to oth­er human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms, which all con­tribute to the build­ing of plu­ral­ist and demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­eties. The inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty needs to con­sol­i­date its col­lec­tive response to those who want to use reli­gion as an instru­ment of divi­sion, fuelling extrem­ism and vio­lence.

As part of the enhanced EU efforts in its bilat­er­al and mul­ti­lat­er­al action on free­dom of reli­gion or belief, the EU and its Mem­ber States remain com­mit­ted to the real­i­sa­tion of the free­dom of reli­gion or belief in all parts of the world, which will be addressed in the annu­al EU human rights reports. The EU will con­tin­ue to engage with part­ner coun­tries and offer its coop­er­a­tion to pro­mote reli­gious tol­er­ance and to pro­tect human rights. The EU will engage fur­ther in mul­ti­lat­er­al fora, in par­tic­u­lar the UN, to ral­ly strong cross-region­al sup­port in the fight against reli­gious intol­er­ance. The EU and its Mem­ber States will con­tin­ue to sup­port ini­tia­tives in the field of inter­cul­tur­al and inter-reli­gious dia­logue in the spir­it of open­ness, engage­ment and mutu­al under­stand­ing, includ­ing by the UN Alliance of Civil­i­sa­tions, UNESCO and the Anna Lindh Foun­da­tion.
The Coun­cil wel­comes the ongo­ing efforts to enhance EU action to pro­mote and pro­tect free­dom of reli­gion or belief fol­low­ing the 2009 Coun­cil Con­clu­sions. The Coun­cil invites the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to report on the mea­sures tak­en and on con­crete pro­pos­als to fur­ther strength­en the EU action in this regard.”

EU Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive — Koso­vo
The Coun­cil adopt­ed a Deci­sion extend­ing the man­date of the Euro­pean Union Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Koso­vo, Pieter Fei­th, until 30 April 2011.

EU Com­mon Mil­i­tary List
The Coun­cil adopt­ed an updat­ed ver­sion of the EU Com­mon Mil­i­tary List. This list defines equip­ment cov­ered by Coun­cil Com­mon Posi­tion 2008/944/CFSP defin­ing com­mon rules gov­ern­ing the con­trol of mil­i­tary tech­nol­o­gy and equip­ment.

Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil with Israel
The Coun­cil adopt­ed the Euro­pean Union’s posi­tion for the 10th meet­ing of the EU-Israel Asso­ci­a­tion Coun­cil (22 Feb­ru­ary 2011). COMMON SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

Mon­tene­gro — EU cri­sis man­age­ment oper­a­tions
The Coun­cil adopt­ed a Deci­sion on the sign­ing and con­clu­sion of an agree­ment between the Euro­pean Union and Mon­tene­gro estab­lish­ing a frame­work for the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Mon­tene­gro in EU cri­sis man­age­ment oper­a­tions.

Source:
Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union

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