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European Union to voice for Christians in persecuted countries

ICC Note: EU sets up group to monitor and report on persecution

By John Malhotra

2/28/10 Europe (ChristianToday) – The European Union (EU) has reportedly formed an association to protect the rights of Christians in countries where persecution is severe.
“We’ve set up a working group and are defining what bilateral action can be taken between Europe and the individual countries where Christians’ rights are in danger,” said Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. “We’re studying which international initiatives the EU can adopt to bring this problem more clearly into focus.”
In an interview with Italian daily Avvenire, Frattini further divulged that the European Union would frame a manual for EU countries’ embassies in nations where persecution is at large.
“By the end of April we’ll have a manual for European embassies in the rest of the world, focusing in particular on the treatment of Christian religious minorities,” he said.
Such a “common protocol”, he noted, was never before been implemented and if brought out will help “closely monitor the treatment of religious minorities, especially Christian minorities, in the most sensitive countries.”
He clarified that ‘monitoring’ will only be in regard to religious freedom. And on this aspect, the EU intends to use a document published recently by an American NGO that contained detailed analysis of Christian persecution worldwide.
“It identifies a list of countries where the situation regarding religious freedom ranges from “persecution”, “serious persecution”, “limitations” to “problematic”. The first is North Korea, the second, by a long distance, is Iran, followed by Somalia, Saudi Arabia and then the others. A list where we also find Pakistan immediately followed by Iraq, India and Sudan.”
Keeping that in mind, Frattini stressed the need for a group of like-minded countries that can voice for the right of Christians to profess their faith anywhere in the world.