PACE recommends European states to promote inter-religious dialogue and cooperation
PACE calls to promote an inter-religious dialogue in Europe
The Parliamentary Assembly noted the growing interest raised by the questions relating to intercultural dialogue in a European and global context. After discussing of the thematic report, PACE has carried the Recommendation 1962 (2011) "The religious dimension of intercultural dialogue".
The Recommendation was carried by 95 votes to 4, with 3 abstentions.
All Ukrainian representatives been present during consideration of this issue: Oksana BILOZIR, Olha HERASYM'YUK, Oleksiy PLOTNIKOV, Ivan POPESCU and Serhiy SOBOLEV were all “In favour” during the voting on Recommendation.
The document states that the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue and collaboration between religious communities are very important to foster the values that make up the common core of our European society.
The Assembly recommends that the authorities of countries, members of the Council of Europe, at local and national level facilitate activity organized in the framework of inter-religious dialogue.
The Assembly considers it not only desirable, but necessary, that the various Churches and religious communities – in particular the Christians, Jews and Muslims – recognize each other’s right to freedom of religion and belief. It is also indispensable that all communities accept to intensify dialogue building on the common assertion of all people’s equal dignity and commitment to democratic principles and human rights.
The Recommendation stresses that such an approach is a crucial condition for developing a new culture of living together. The Assembly therefore calls upon all religious communities and Churches to persevere in their endeavors for dialogue in order to work together to attain the goal of safeguarding these values throughout Europe and worldwide.
Also PACE considers it necessary to build up a dynamic, productive partnership between the public institutions, the religious communities and the groups that espouse a non-religious perception.
An author of the report, Ms. Anne BRASSEUR (Luxembourg, ALDE), has initiated the hearing of this issue in the Parliamentary Assembly, as she considers that “the cultural diversity characteristic of European society has become a source of tension and divisions”.
The rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee Mr. Latchezar TOSHEV (Bulgaria, EPP/CD), said: “Dialogue is always positive for society, in particular dialogue between different cultural experiences. Religion is a dimension of culture, which is valued by many, influencing their approach to the realities of the world”.
He also noted that religion has played an important role in Europe’s history, in particular in the establishment of a system of shared values. “And we must acknowledge the steps taken by various religious leaders to promote peace, tolerance and mutual understanding and to eliminate hate among religious and culturally different peoples”, – emphasized Mr. Toshev.
Ms. Oksana BILOZIR (Ukraine, CDU) during her speech at PACE said that Ukraine is a polyconfessional country with rather complicated history of religion.
"Thus, in 1993 there were about 900 hot spots of active inter-church confrontation in Ukraine. The level of religious tension could reduce due to the establishment of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations with representatives of 19 leading Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches, Jewish and Muslim religious associations in it, covering about 95% of Ukrainian religious network”, – said parliamentarian.
Ms. BILOZIR told European MPs that the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations actively promotes the search for interdenominational mutual understanding, considers the improvement of current legislation concerning freedom of thought, religion and religious organizations’ activity in a dialogue with state authorities, and also elaborates mechanisms for the protection and promotion of public morality.
Svitlana SYDORENKO, special for IRF
© 2011 The Institute for Religious Freedom – Kyiv, Ukraine