Ten years ago, the European Council adopted Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). These guidelines explain what FoRB is, why it is important, and what EU delegations (embassies) abroad can do in case this right is violated. Civil society experts were very much involved in the drafting process and the document still holds.
The anniversary of the Guidelines was celebrated in various meetings organized by civil society. Further, two European parliamentarians, Peter van Dalen and Carlo Fidanza, hosted a meeting in the Parliament, organized by Human Rights without Frontiers. The meeting had an interesting line up of speakers from various backgrounds. Arie de Pater was one of them. He spoke on behalf of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA), the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF), and the European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID). De Pater emphasized the importance of FoRB for all, the need for solid investigation and documentation, and the need for cooperation. If we lose sight of the importance of FoRB at home, we will lose the motivation to promote and defend it elsewhere in the world.