World Evangelical Alliance urges France to respect the right to freedom of religion


During the 54th session of the Human Rights Council, the World Evangelical Alliance called on the French government to ensure respect for freedom of religion in France, particularly within the framework of the separatism law. Eciting "developments in science and technology", the evangelical organization also requested the creation of a general conscientious objection clause for healthcare personnel. 

Every five years, each country is subject to what is called theUniversal 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.

It is in this context, on the occasion of the adoption of the report on France, that Markus Stefan Hofer, responsible for communications and awareness-raising for the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) at the United Nations, spoke on September 29. A speech which took place during the 54th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

A law that could affect freedom of worship

In this declaration, the AEM notably called on the French government to "ensure that the new legislation on religion is neither restrictive nor restrictive, and that it is applied harmoniously throughout French territory." 

Considering that the law reinforcing respect for the principles of the Republic (also called separatism law) has "substantially modified the regime of religions in France, with a move towards a 'secular surveillance' of religions which could affect freedom of religion" , the evangelical organization urged France "to revise the implementing decrees, if the conditions of application are in practice too restrictive or restrictive for associations" and "to ensure the harmonization of the application of measures on the territory". 

Also, the AEM invited the government to pay particular attention to religious communities from diasporas to support them in the application of the new law.

Evangelicals also demanded that anti-religious hatred be included in the mission of the Interministerial Delegation for the Fight against Racism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-LGBT Hatred (DILCRAH) in order to “cover crimes and discrimination against people other origins and religions. 

"Moreover, we invite France to add the fight against anti-religious hatred to the mission of the Interministerial Delegation for the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT hatred (DILCRAH) to also cover offenses and discrimination against persons or groups on the basis of their affiliation to a religion."

Freedom of conscience of caregivers

Markus Hofer then spoke about the freedom of conscience of healthcare personnel. Pointing to “developments in science and technology” particularly with regard to procreation or the end of life, he called for the modification of the Public Health Code. 

The AEM indeed considers that the creation of a “general conscientious objection clause for all caregivers or specific clauses, depending on the professions and the areas of care concerned” is necessary in this context. 

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)

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