STRASBOURG – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is now holding its Autumn Plenary Session (from 1 to 5 October 2012) in Strasbourg.
During this session PACE will consider a number of working documents on democratic freedoms, human rights and religious freedom, reports the Institute for Religious Freedom.
October 4, PACE will hear a report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media on "The right to freedom of choice in education in Europe".
The draft resolution states: "Council of Europe member States must provide for an education system which ensures equal opportunities and high-quality education for all pupils, to transmit both knowledge and the values nurturing the promotion of fundamental rights and democratic citizenship".
The resolution provides that the members of the Council of Europe, including Ukraine, must guarantee the fundamental right to freedom of choice in education in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. The document also notes: "This right, which is intimately linked to the rights to education and freedom of conscience, entails the obligation for the States to respect the right of parents to ensure education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions".
It will be recalled that for many years these legislative initiatives do not find sufficient support in the Parliament, despite the position of the religious community.
PACE session will also examine reply to Recommendation № 1987 (2011) "Combating all forms of discrimination based on religion", prepared by the Committee of Ministers. This paper focuses on the Declaration on religious freedom, adopted in January 2011. It is noted that the Council of Europe has a key role to play in strengthening democratic stability to counter all forms of intolerance, discrimination and extremism, including those linked to religion or non-religious beliefs.
A written declaration entitled "Violence against the Christian community in northern Nigeria" is also among the working documents of this session.
35 members of the Assembly, who signed the declaration, admitted a growing number of attacks and related violence against Christians in northern Nigeria. They call on member States of the Council of Europe to act in the direction already indicated in Assembly Resolution 1846 (2011) and Recommendation 1987 (2011) on combating all forms of discrimination based on religion.
Svitlana Sydorenko, for IRF