Scientology minister Rev. Eric Roux was a featured speaker at the International Convention: Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe, an Arduous Journey, organized by European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) under the auspices of the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Regional Council of Tuscany, Italy.
In the moderated discussion January 19 titled “Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe,” Rev. Roux, director of European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom (EIFRF), France, spoke on the necessity of religions working together to defend the religious freedom of all faiths, not simply their own—an interesting point at a time when every religion is a minority somewhere in the world.
Roux makes the point that although lawmaking is very important in protecting freedom of religion and belief, and such laws exist in many European countries today, the laws themselves are not sufficient to guarantee religious freedom for all. Indeed, when it comes to application of protective laws, there are many examples of discrimination, proving that these laws are not equitably applied.
Roux spoke of countries, such as Russia or Hungary, that do not comply with European Court of Human Rights decisions regarding freedom of religion and refuse to apply them. And France ignores the decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee. Roux points out that this discrimination stems from prejudice against certain religions, and that prejudice is the cause of many violations of the right to freedom of religion of religious minorities.
He presents the concept that the most effective way to fight prejudice is by creating alliances for religious freedom:
Europe faces many religious freedom issues. Even within the 27 countries of the European Union, you have serious violations of this fundamental right. But the European Union is reluctant to tackle this issue and thinks it belongs to the individual states. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult for a state to practice real self-improvement, which would imply that it was wrong before. That is why states need help, and why I believe in the need for alliances to defend, promote and ensure religious freedom in Europe—not just to defend the interests of those allied groups themselves, but to affirm and defending religious freedom for all.