Anti-discrimination report UN leads to worries about religious freedom


European Union


Pro-LGBT+ activists take part in a demonstration outside of Church House, in London. Photo AFP, Justin Tallis

The National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) is worried. A new report on discrimination against the LGBT community limits religious freedom, the Council fears.

The so-called SOGI report proposes to limit freedom of conscience and religious freedom, the CNEF writes on its website. And it is not the only Christian organisation to worry about. The World Evangelical Alliance and the European Evangelical Alliance also support the statement.

According to the organisations, the report, which was presented to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva last Wednesday, endangers "the principle of free organisation of worship or the autonomy of religious organisations."

In particular, the freedom to employ whom they want, the exercise of conscientious objection and the freedom of education are threatened by the report, the CNEF statement reads.

State interference

In addition, the organisation sees the report as a call for "state interference in the doctrinal autonomy of religions, in particular around the notion of sin." Also, they are worried that the report is "an incorrect interpretation of the principle of non-discrimination required of religious organisations."

The SOGI report, for example, reads that the right to manifest one's religion, although a fundamental right, "can and must be limited by States in certain circumstances", Evangeliques.info illustrates. It then proceeds to paint a picture of the "reality" in which "LGBT people are often marginalised, stigmatised and excluded from religious and faith communities simply because of who they are."


The report also reads that states have a duty to "create an environment conducive to the exercise of human rights and LGBT people must be protected against violence and harmful practices on the part of the religious community as a whole, so that they can assert themselves and integrate into society."

Even though the SOGI document is not legally binding for member states, it can be seen as a guideline, Evangeliques.info writes.

The CNEF, World Evangelical Alliance and the European Evangelical Alliance assert that they are committed to a pluralistic and safe society for everyone. It adds that it opposes any form of violence and discrimination and "hopes that the fundamental freedoms mutually enrich each other rather than restrict them." They were able to share their concerns with the author of the report, the French Counselor for Religious Affairs and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.



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