[Human Rights] HRC / 22nd Session, Clustered ID with the WG on disappearances and the SR on freedom of religion or belief
Thank you Mr. President.
We would like to thank both the member of the WG and the Special Rapporteur for the presentation. We will focus our intervention on the report of the SR on freedom of religion or belief.
Austria would like to thank you for the presentation of the thematic report which is this year focusing on the need to respect and protect freedom of religion or belief of persons belonging to religious minorities. We attach great importance to both issues and they range amongst our thematic priorities during our membership in the Council.
We are deeply concerned about growing discrimination and the rising number of violent attacks against members of religious minorities and their places of worship in many parts of the world. In order to promote and create a peaceful environment with regard to religious freedom and belief, it is important that the rights of religious minorities are consistently interpreted and implemented from a human rights perspective.
In this regard, it is highly important to look at this issue also from a minority rights perspective, including article 27 of the ICCPR which calls upon States to undertake measures to facilitate the long-term development of a religious minority. Given the importance of the Declaration, we would like to know more about your plans to integrate more effectively the provisions of this document into your work.
We share your assessment that systematic attention should be given to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, such as discriminatory patterns in the intersection of religious and gender discrimination. Given your experience with country visits, could you share with us some best practice examples?
Austria believes that cooperation and information sharing between the relevant stakeholders at national, regional and international level, including special procedure mandate holders is key in order to protect and promote the rights of religious minorities. In this context, we would like to know more about your cooperation with the Independent Expert on minority issues on that matter.
Finally, we would like to reiterate our strong support to your mandate.
I thank you.