Human Rights Day: National churches issue appeal to protect religious freedom

On the occasion of Human Rights Day on December 10, the national churches call upon the Swiss population to support persecuted Christians. The churches have launched a petition and are calling upon the Swiss Federal Council to stand up for religious freedom all over the world.

Human rights grant all human beings the right to religious freedom and the right to practice their religion. But today, Christians are the most threatened religious community worldwide, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC), the Swiss Bishops’ Conference (SBC) and the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland say in their joint statement published on the occasion of International Human Rights Day. In Syria, Libya, Tunisia or Egypt, but also in Nigeria and Vietnam, members of Christian churches are subjected to discrimination, attacks, abductions and acts of violence. All too often, these human rights violations are sanctioned or even supported by the governments. “We cannot and will not be silent on this subject. Our solidarity is needed by those living in such difficult situations,“ the national churches explain.

On International Human Rights Day, the national churches encourage their members to support threatened Christians all over the world “with words, prayer and active solidarity,” particularly in the course of the celebrations on December 10. They also call upon the population to sign a petition (by January 30) requesting of the Federal Council to explicitly address problems surrounding the discrimination, marginalization and intimidation of Christians in keeping with Switzerland’s humanitarian tradition.

The national churches also invite everyone to sign a second petition launched by Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) and addressed to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rohani. The petition appeals to the Iranian president to recognize the right of every person to convert to a different religion and to free all those who are imprisoned due to their religion.