Waqt li kien qed jindirizza dibattitu plenarju dwar l-azzjonijiet tal-Unjoni fil-qasam tal-libertà tar-reliġjon jew ta’ twemmin madwar id-dinja, il-Kap tad-delegazzjoni tal-Partit Laburista fil-Parlament Ewropew Alfred Sant sostna kif l-Unjoni Ewropea għandha tistenna li l-pajjiżi msieħba tagħha jirrispettaw il-libertà tar-reliġjon fit-territorju tagħhom, b’mod partikolari meta dan jikkonċerna liċ-ċittadini Ewropej. Għandha tikkomunika dan lill-imsieħba tagħha bil-mezzi politiċi u diplomatiċi tagħha.

Il-Membru Parlamentari Ewropew Laburista ssuġġerixxa li dawk l-istati li joħolqu restrizzjonijiet fuq ċittadini Ewropej residenti hemmhekk, fil-prattika tar-reliġjon tagħhom m’għandhomx jitħallew jippromwovu r-reliġjon tagħhom fl-Ewropa. Dan mingħajr ma jfixkel bl-ebda mod liċ-ċittadini individwali ta’ tali stat residenti fl-Unjoni Ewropea, milli jipprattikaw ir-reliġjon tagħhom, huwa żied jgħid.

Id-dibattitu Ewropew sar bħala parti mid-dibattiti li jagħmel il-Parlament Ewropew fl-oqsma tat-trattament ugwali tal-persuni, il-libertajiet fundamentali, id-drittijiet tal-bniedem u d-demokrazija inġenerali. Il-Kummissarju Ewropew għall-Ugwaljanza, Helena Dalli kienet preżenti għad-dibattitu.

Sant qal li bħala entità sekulari, l-Unjoni Ewropea għandha bl-eżempju u permezz ta’ azzjoni diplomatika, tagħti xhieda tal-impenn tagħha għal-libertà tar-reliġjon u t-twemmin madwar id-dinja bl-istess mod li ssostni l-impenn tagħha għad-demokrazija u d-drittijiet fundamentali tal-bniedem. Bl-istess mod, l-Unjoni Ewropea tiggarantixxi li l-Istati Membri kollha jżommu bis-sħiħ l-impenn tagħhom favur il-prattika ħielsa tar-reliġjonijiet kollha sakemm in-normi ta’ mġiba aċċettati ġeneralment jiġu rispettati. Dawn in-normi jinkludu l-projbizzjoni ta’ prattiki bħall-mutilazzjoni ġenitali u ż-żwieġ tat-tfal.

Sant qal ukoll li mhux aċċettabbli li komunitajiet Insara f’ċerti stati jkunu ristretti milli jipprattikaw ir-reliġjon tagħhom filwaqt li fl-istess ħin il-gvernijiet ta’ dawn l-istati jistennew li jiffinzjaw bil-libertà kollha xi prattika reliġjuża fi ħdan l-Unjoni Ewropea.

States that do not tolerate freedom of religion in their country should be disallowed from promoting any religion in Europe

Addressing a plenary debate on the Union’s actions in the field of freedom of religion or belief worldwide, the head of the Labour party delegation in the European Parliament Alfred Sant stressed that the European Union should communicate through political and diplomatic channels that it expects its partners to respect freedom of religion within their territory, in particular when this concerns European citizens.

The Labour MEP suggested that those states who do show respect and create restrictions towards European citizens resident there to practice their religion should not be allowed to promote any religion in Europe. This without in any way, hindering the individual citizens of such state’s resident in the European Union, from practising their religion, he added.

The European debate took place as a requested topical debate in the areas of equal treatment of persons, non-discrimination as well as fundamental freedoms, human rights and democracy in general. European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli was present for the debate.

Sant claimed that as a secular entity, the European Union should by example and direct diplomatic action, give witness to its commitment to the freedom of religion and belief worldwide in the same way it maintains its commitment to democracy and fundamental human rights. On this basis, the European Union should clearly guarantee that all Member States uphold in full their commitment to the free practice of all religions as long as widely accepted norms of behaviour are respected. These norms include the prohibition of practices like genital mutilation and child marriage.

According to MEP Sant it is not acceptable that Christian communities in certain states are restricted from practising their religion while at the same time the government of these states expect to have the freedom to fund other religious practice within the European Union.

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