Separatism, pluralism of opinions...: CNEF's recommendations to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights


As the Universal Periodic Review of France approaches and in a context of debate on the place of religions in the public space, the CNEF and its partners are making a series of recommendations to the High Commissioner for Human Rights of ONU. He challenges them in particular on the “separatism” law, on the suspicion of the public authorities with regard to religions or even on the decline of the pluralism of opinions in France. 

Every five years, each country undergoes what is called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR). It makes it possible to assess compliance with international conventions on human rights in the country examined.

France's next UPR will take place on May 1, 2023. On this occasion, the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF), jointly with the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) and the European Baptist Federation (EBF), has just submitted an “alternative report” to the attention of the UNHCR.

This report highlights several topics related to respect for freedom of religion and freedom of expression in France and addresses a series of recommendations.

The law strengthening respect for the principles of the Republic, or separatism law, is particularly singled out by the CNEF which evokes a "transition towards a 'secular surveillance' of worship which could affect freedom of religion". The evangelical organization recommends to lighten certain measures of this law which weigh “in human and financial resources on the associations which exercise a public worship”.

The CNEF and its partners also denounce “the suspicion of the public authorities with regard to religions” which is revealed, according to them, “by public statements by political leaders, elected officials or members of the government”. They recommend ensuring more respectful public speaking, and above all, one that does not fuel anti-religious sentiment.

The place of freedom of religion in youth-related policies is one of the weaknesses highlighted by the report, particularly with regard to the teaching of religion in schools.

The decline of the pluralism of convictions, notably religious, in France is also highlighted in the report. The CNEF believes that it is threatened “by a form of dominant culture in which the expression of minority opinions is becoming less and less accepted or possible”.

Believers "must not be afraid" to express their religious opinions "in public or in private", continues the evangelical organization.

"The CNEF recommends ensuring respect for pluralism of convictions and opinions: the expression of religious opinions concerning in particular human identity, the family, the couple, procreation, the beginning and the end of life, must be protected by the state, even if they are minority opinions. »

In conclusion, the Evangelicals claim to welcome "France's commitment to respect for human rights" and encourage it to commit in the same way to guarantee "full and complete exercise of freedom of thought , conscience and religion and freedom of expression for all!

Find the report submitted by the CNEF on the World Evangelical Alliance website, here.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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Summary of news for September 22, 2023

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