Timmermans Rejects Country Ranking Order for Religious Freedom
THE HAGUE, 17/05/13 - Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans will not draw up an annual ranking order of countries where religious freedom is violated the most. Additionally, projects to draw attention to persecution of Christians are to be halted.
Small Christian party ChristenUnie, supported by the smallest, SGP, and the Christian democrats (CDA), urged such a religious freedom list in a debate in the Lower House. Both the cabinet and a majority in the Lower House were however against such a publication.
Timmermans said he sees “no added value” in such lists, because they could be seen by countries as a provocation: “They can lead to rigidity.” Special attention for a certain group (Christians) “could undermine an appeal to the universality of human rights,” the minister believes.
Timmermans also announced to scrap a trial project started by his predecessor Uri Rosenthal. The latter decided to pay more attention at 10 Dutch embassies to persecution of Christians.
According to ChristenUnie, the House should have discussed the religious freedom list annually, and the government could use it as a basis for policy formation. ChristenUnie also unsuccessfully urged a separate Lower House standing committee for Ethnic and Religious Minorities.