First report of the Federal Government Commissioner for Religious Freedom

Foreign policy must focus more on the human right of religious freedom (Press Release)

According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), Germany's foreign policy should focus more on the human right of religious freedom. The human rights organization welcomed the publication of the long-awaited first report of the Federal Government Commissioner for Worldwide Religious Freedom, Markus Grübel. "Commitment to religious freedom must be more than just lip service – and words must be followed by concrete action. Germany and the European Union have many opportunities to promote respect for religious freedom by means of their foreign policy. So far, this potential has not been used," emphasized Ulrich Delius, the STP's Director, in Göttingen on Wednesday. The human rights organization, which has been supporting religious minorities for decades, pointed out that hundreds of millions of people worldwide are persecuted because of their faith. This does not only affect people of Christian faith, but also Muslims, Buddhists, Yazidis, and members of many other religious communities.  

In the Middle East and Asia, the situation is especially dramatic. In India alone, for example, more than 200 million members of the Muslim and Christian minorities are facing massive restrictions on their freedom of faith. In the neighboring country of Pakistan, it is especially the Christians and Shiites who are suffering – due to the arbitrary blasphemy laws and other discriminatory legal provisions.

"Especially with regard to Turkey and the Middle East, German foreign policy should aim to promote respect for religious freedom and for religious minorities," Delius demanded. Christians, Alevis, Yazidis, and many other religious minorities are fighting for their existence. However, Germany remains silent on most human rights violations out of consideration for the refugee agreement with Turkey. "Further, German foreign policy is quite indifferent about political Islam, although many religious minorities are terrorized in its name. Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in the Middle East need support to help them survive – more than ever," Delius emphasized.