RESOLUTION ON PROMOTING FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF IN THE OSCE REGION

    1. Appreciating that multiple faiths and beliefs are practiced and manifested in the OSCE region, and hold tremendous value to their followers and adherents,
    2. Declaring that democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms are strengthened, and that peace and stability in the OSCE region are enhanced, when the right to freedom of religion, thought, conscience or belief is respected, protected and fulfilled by participating States and their legislative and judicial bodies,
    3. Reaffirming that freedom of religion, thought, conscience or belief is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other universal human rights instruments,
    4. Recalling that the OSCE participating States are committed to "respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion" and to "recognize and respect the freedom of the individual to profess and practice, alone or in community with others, religion or belief acting in accordance with the dictates of his [or her] own conscience" as per the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe Final Act, which is further upheld by subsequent concluding documents and declarations,
    5. Recalling as well the various Ministerial Council Decisions on Tolerance and Non Discrimination, including No. 6/02, No. 4/03, No. 10/05, No. 10/07 and No. 13/06, the latter in which the Ministerial Council "commits to raise awareness of the value of cultural and religious diversity as a source of mutual enrichment of societies and to recognize the importance of integration with respect for cultural and religious diversity as a key element to promote mutual respect and understanding,"
    6. Reiterating the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's affirmations regarding the promotion of religious freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination in the OSCE region as included in the Edinburgh Declaration, Kyiv Declaration, Oslo Declaration, and the Belgrade Declaration,

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

    1. Calls on the OSCE participating States to promote, respect, protect and fulfill the international obligations and commitments set out above regarding freedom of religion, thought, belief or conscience and freedom from discrimination, and to ensure that any person whose rights are violated has an accessible and effective remedy to vindicate those rights;
    2. Stresses that religious sites, artefacts and symbols constitute an integral part of the world's cultural heritage and urges OSCE participating States to ensure their protection, including in the event of armed conflict, as called for in the Hague Convention of 1954 and other relevant international instruments, and to take all necessary measures for their maintenance in post-conflict situations;
    3. Calls upon the OSCE participating States to ensure freedom of worship, unimpeded access to religious sites and unobstructed training of the clergy; these being key elements in promoting freedom of religion;
    4. Calls on national parliaments to ensure that national legislation is consistent with international obligations set out above relating to freedom of religion, thought, conscience, or belief, that such legislation recognizes and ensures the equality of all individuals before and under the law, and guarantees, without discrimination, the right of each person to equal and effective protection and benefit of the law;
    5. Further calls on national parliaments to ensure that national legislation requiring registration or administrative procedures relating to religious or belief communities are quick, non-discriminatory, transparent, fair, inclusive, and do not limit the right to freedom of religion or belief;
    6. Commends the work of the personal representatives of the Chairman-in-Office on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, on focusing on intolerance and discrimination against Christians and members of other religions, on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, on combating anti-Semitism, the ODIHR for its work on issues relating to tolerance and non-discrimination, including freedom of religion and belief, and its panel of experts on freedom of religion or belief;
    7. Remains seized of instances where the right to freedom of religion, conscience, thought or belief is not being respected, protected or fulfilled in the OSCE region;
    8. Encourages the participating States to undertake initiatives to establish and support inter-faith dialogue and co-operation involving governments, civil society and religious groups in order to facilitate and strengthen mutual understanding, tolerance and respect.