European Interreligious Forum For Religious Freedom

International Religious Freedom Roundtable in Europe First meeting 28 June 2014 - Statement


Written the Sunday, July 20th 2014 à 13:51
EIFRF





On the 28th of June 2014 more than 20 faith-based and non-faith-based NGOs reps or individuals joined together for the first meeting of the IRF Roundtable in Europe, in the Royal Library of Brussels, Belgium.
 
For two hours, they discussed the way this roundtable will be organized, its purpose and the results it wants to achieve.
 
The IRF Roundtable (IRF = International Religious Freedom) is an informal group of individuals from non-governmental organisations who gather regularly to discuss IRF issues on a non-attribution basis.  It is simply a safe space where participants gather, speak freely in sharing ideas and information, and propose joint advocacy actions to address specific IRF issues and problems.
 
The purpose is to have a roundtable meeting every two months in Brussels. Meetings will be open to all civil society members and every NGO that shares concerns about religious freedom issues and are committed to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The non-attribution basis means that if a report of the discussions during the meetings is done, no specific quote or position will be attributed to anyone, making the roundtable a safe space for expressing views and sharing ideas.
 
Even if many initiatives, coalitions and advocacy groups already exist and operate in this field, the IRF roundtable aims to complement other existing activities and does not encroach on their existing fields of action. Each existing NGO that already has initiatives in the field of lobbying and advocating for religious freedom should consider the Roundtable as a complementary tool to further its own purposes and the cause of freedom of religion and belief at large:
 
• It is a “non-organisation” and participants do not commit themselves by participating and their choice to join any given advocacy action is self determined. The Roundtable will never issue communications advocating IRF under the name of the Roundtable, but is only a place to meet and share initiatives, and each initiative will be endorsed or not by specific NGOs, not the roundtable.
 
• It’s open to all and will permit some “non-traditional”, minority or less-organised faiths to be able to make their voices heard, as well as to propose joint advocacy actions in some fields that have not yet been addressed by existing initiatives. There is no “membership” so anyone who attends is not considered a member, but only a participant. Names, per the principle of non-attribution, will not be disclosed in the minutes of the meetings.
 
• It will allow existing initiatives and NGOs to participate and broaden their grassroots, field-based knowledge of different issues, by being briefed and alerted on topics that have not always been tackled before (or different aspects or updates on topics that have).
 
• It will allow participants to join others with regards to specific issues whereas they would never have had such an opportunity to work together in different circumstances.
 
The stress will be put on actions and initiatives, not on discussions about beliefs and theological differences. The purpose is to address freedom of religion or belief issues.
 
The Roundtable will be a place to tackle freedom of religion or belief issues all over the world, including Europe, and from which to interact with European institutions as well as any governmental body that might be a stakeholder in a religious freedom issue.
 
If you want to attend to the next roundtable meeting in October or have questions on the IRF Roundtable in Europe, please write to irf.roundtable.eu@gmail.com
 
 
 
The participants



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