In Europe, freedom of religion or belief is often overlooked in comparison to other human rights. However, advocates argue that it is the foundation for all other freedoms. The recently appointed EU Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union, Frans van Daele, highlighted the challenges faced in defending and promoting religious freedom in Europe, such as indifference and ignorance. Additionally, the fragmented nature of EU institutions and their own agendas make it difficult to address violations of religious freedom consistently. Collaboration between the EU and the UN is seen as complementary in addressing these issues. In some countries, tensions arise between established majority religions and newer or historic religious minorities, as the state aligns itself with the dominant religion. The EU's public diplomacy aims to promote tolerance, respect, and non-discrimination through education, particularly by eliminating negative stereotypes from schoolbooks. Prioritizing countries based on certain criteria is also part of the EU's strategy, focusing on those open to the EU's message and willing to make progress. However, the EU's public diplomacy is complex, involving navigating its own internal architecture and engaging with the political and social dynamics of target countries. Human Rights Without Frontiers suggests that the EU needs to allocate appropriate resources and funding to its advocacy mechanisms, such as the EU Special Envoy on FoRB and the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the European Parliament, in order to be more effective in promoting religious freedom.
CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions) and HRWF (Human Rights Without Frontiers) organized a conference about religious freedom issues at the prestigious National University of Taiwan. The delegation raised the unsolved case of Tai Ji Men, a Qigong organization wrongly charged with tax evasion.
On 24 November, the website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine published the text of draft law No. 8221 banning the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church represented on the territory of Ukraine by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).
violations of international humanitarian law are committed by all belligerents and Russia’s warfare on Ukraine is shedding further light on the need to protect civilians in the context of intensified urban warfare. In Ukraine, overtaking cities is of strategic value for Russia and is part of their warfare tactics. The terrain thus becomes very complex with the inevitable proximity of the military with the civilian population.