Zovko proposes to include interreligious dialogue in the official European Union’s diplomatic strategy
Strasbourg, 18 December 2019
– Recent history reminds us that when a religious minority is suffering and is being unjustly treated, the consequences are felt sooner or later. As a Papillon effect, the storm will be created on the other side of the world. –
During the Plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Zeljana Zovko took the floor in the debate on the situation of the Uyghur. This Asian Muslim ethnic minority is living in deteriorating circumstances and faces severe violations of their human rights.
Zovko expressed her concerns and said that the situation is highly worrisome. She also applauded the decision of the European Parliament to grant the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2019 to Ilham Tohti for his persistent fight to defend the rights of the Uyghur.
During her speech Zovko said that “Recent history reminds us that when a religious minority is suffering and is being unjustly treated, the consequences are felt sooner or later. As a Papillon effect, the storm will be created on the other side of the world.”
Zovko pointed at an increasing trend in the European Parliament. “Today we are debating about the inhumane situation of Muslim minorities, tomorrow we will convene to discuss the persecutions of Christian minorities in Burkina Faso. And last Strasbourg plenary we discussed the intolerant approach against Catholics and Protestants in Algeria. This House clearly recognizes that freedom of religion and belief is one of the corner stones of a modern and tolerant society.”
Having this trend in mind, Zovko proposed that the European Commission and the European External Action Service should follow this opinion by including the concept of interreligious dialogue in their official communication strategy as a tool to foster peace and reconciliation in its external action policy.
“This way we can improve our position as a geopolitical actor and advocate respect and protection for religious minorities”, according to Zovko.
In her speech, Zovko said that “A good starting point would be to take into account the recent Declaration on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. With this guiding document, we can reconcile and appease our differences and show that we should not use religion as a tool for conflict.”