Italy’s reflections on religious freedom and the defence of Christian minorities met with “strong convergence and support” from the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg, according to Minister Giulio Terzi, who reported that “many colleagues referred in their speeches to the recent massacres in Nigeria and Christians’ forced exodus” from various parts of the world.
Terzi also reported that the ministers had agreed to proceed on three fronts: pursuance of regional cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts; implementation of every possible action to raise awareness in countries in transition and where episodes of intolerance and violence are taking place; involvement of the civil society in affirming the principle of respect for minorities, not least through education.
According to Terzi, there are prospects for greater continuity and visibility on these themes also within the United Nations. Italy “is thinking of joint initiatives on the occasion of the opening of UN Week in New York”.
General human rights framework adopted
The discussion of the defence of Christian and other religious minorities took place within the context of the Council’s approval of a “general human rights framework”, which EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton referring to in the final press conference, specifying that the discussion had underscored the themes of women, children and religious and Christian minorities.