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Guidelines on freedom of religion or belief

On 24 June 2013, the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief, in which it reaffirms that it is committed to promoting freedom of religion or belief in its external human rights policy.

These guidelines give officials of the EU and Member States practical advice on how to prevent violations of freedom of religion or belief, to analyse concrete cases and respond effectively to violations regardless of where they are committed, in order to promote and protect this freedom in the EU’s external actions.

It also clarifies its position in terms of neutrality by stating that it “does not consider the merits of
the different religions or beliefs, or the lack thereof, but ensures that the right to believe or not to believe is upheld. The EU is impartial and is not aligned with any specific religion or belief”.

When dealing with freedom of religion or belief, the EU will grant special attention to eight priority action areas for which it details the content.

For further information, see:
- EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief
- "Religion and beliefs: fundamental rights guaranteed by the ECHR and EU law" by Gabrielle Caceres (March 2016)
- the article "Diplomatie européenne et liberté de religion" by François Foret (9 May 2017) on ORELA.

D 8 October 2013    AFrançoise Curtit

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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