European Union urges its members to protect religious freedom

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The European Union on Wednesday urged all its member states to protect religious freedom, saying it was a duty of EU states.

The statement was made in a statement by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration of Victims of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

Mogherini said the protection of freedom of thought and religion is a duty of EU member states.

“The practice of persecution in response to belief or religious affiliation or not is a violation of international law and requires joint action to confront it.”

The European Union has always been at the forefront of those who promote and protect religious freedom.

“EU legislation obliges member states to punish deliberate public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of that group because of their religion, belief or even other matters,” she said.

“The marginalization of people belonging to religious minorities or making them scapegoats can be an early warning sign of more persecution, as well as a wider crackdown on society as a whole.”

Countries in the EU, such as Greece, have long been accused of violating the rights of the Turkish Muslim minority within their borders, in some cases violating the European Court of Human Rights.

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