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Russian delegation slams OSCE’s inaction on protecting religious freedom

September 27, 2016, 17:26 UTC+3 WARSAW
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WARSAW, September 27. /TASS/. The Russian delegation attending a session on the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation had spoken up for the protection of rights of all believers throughout the OSCE’s space and supported a solution to tackle intolerance and discrimination against Christians and Muslims.

"We see practically nothing done across the OSCE space to ensure the right of freedom of religion," said Oleg Komarov, speaking on Tuesday on behalf of the Russian delegation.

"We have to state that this problem has long gone beyond the boundaries of public or inter-faith discussion, becoming in fact one of the most serious challenges of modern times," he said.

"Due to a persistent bid by some representatives of the global community to use the religious factor as an instrument of geopolitical influence, faith-related conflicts have not vanished, but instead show an obvious tendency towards expanding," the delegate said.

"This problem is most clearly revealed in the disastrous situation facing Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, which is directly due to the destabilization of the region by the West and its allies," he went on. "However, religious persecution and at times even the annihilation of people is far from just being limited to this region - the seeds of religious-based hatred have gloomy implications in Ukraine. Moreover, this dangerous virus is spreading quite steadily to the seemingly stable West, which has already been hit by an epidemic of aggressive secularization," Komarov said.

"Along with known problems facing Christians in the US and most European states, we also have manifestations of Islamophobia and persecution of those of the Jewish faith," he said.

"Numerous non-governmental organizations have repeatedly voiced statistics which are not quite pleasant for the Euro-Atlantic sphere," he said, noting that the situation will keep deteriorating in the coming years against the background of growing waves of migrants.

"The Russian Federation unwaveringly insists on the protection of believers’ rights, regardless of what confessions are involved," Komarov said, noting that religious groups should be taking the lead, while the state and interstate institutions should have the role of ‘moderators’ creating conditions for a dialogue among confessions.

He also said Russia prioritized tackling bigotry and discrimination against Christians and Muslims at the upcoming OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg.

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