A coalition of religious and civic organizations dedicated to protecting religious freedom and human rights have sent a joint letter to United Nations special rapporteurs and government officials. The letter alerts officials to the arrest of 45 journalists who write for Bitter Winter, an online magazine covering liberty and human rights issues in China.
Bitter Winter is published daily in eight languages including Chinese by CESNUR—Centre for Studies on New Religions.
“We are a truly multifaith group, representing a high degree of diversity,” the letter states. “While there is very little we agree on theologically or politically, we all agree on the importance of religious freedom for all faiths and none. It strengthens cultures and provides the foundation for stable democracies and their components, including civil society, economic growth, and social harmony. As such, it is also the ultimate counterterrorism weapon, preemptively undermining religious extremism.”
The letter, published on the website of the European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom (FIFRF) was addressed to:
- Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion
- Mrs. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
- Mrs. Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe
- Mr. Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights
- Mr. Jan Figel, EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief
- Mr. David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
- Mrs. Mairead McGuiness, vice president of the European Parliament (EP) in charge of Implementation of Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
- Member of the European Parliament Peter Van Dalen
- Member of the European Parliament Denis De Jong.
To read the text of the letter, visit the website of the European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom.
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.