'Emboldening National Identity Through Buddhism Causing Problems For Minorities In SL' - UN Rapporteur

United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, addressing a panel discussion on the sidelines of the 25th session of the UNHRC, drew upon Buddhism in Sri Lanka to highlight that emboldening national identity through religion could cause detrimental effects on rights of other communities. 

 The panel discussion was convened by the EU delegation to the UNHRC. "Religious intolerance in Sri Lanka" is gaining ground as a popular topic among Sri Lanka's detractors in Geneva. 

The panel discussion highlighted that Incidents of hatred, discrimination, intolerance and violence on the grounds of religion or belief are faced in all parts of the world and constitute a source of many violations of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.

Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva, started the debate by underlining the importance that the EU attaches to keeping the Human Rights Council seized with the protection and promotion of freedom of religion or belief, one of the EU's human rights priorities. "We defend and promote the principled position that freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right to which everyone is entitled, outside and within the EU," she said. "Individuals discriminated because of their religion or belief are at the core of our attention. We also do everything we can to ensure that protection and promotion of this human right is not to the detriment of other human rights, such as freedom of expression," she added.


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