Exposition in European Parliament demands attention for persecuted Christians


European Union


MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen at the opening of the exhibition. Photo SGP, Cornelis Bos

Thousands of Christians lost their lives because the European Union keeps silent about freedom of religion. That is what Reformed MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen said on Monday when he opened a conference and an exposition about persecuted Christians in the building of the European Parliament in Brussels.

The EU must act more against violations of the freedom of religion, which hurts especially Christians worldwide, Ruissen said. The exposition is visible in the middle of the European Parliament in Brussels.

MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen pleads for more action on European level to protect persecuted Christians. Photo ANP, Jonas Roosens

Behind it are the organisations Open Doors and SDOK, which focus on persecuted Christians worldwide. The exposition includes pictures of Christians affected by persecution, such as a Chinese believer who is hung by police officers with his legs on a horizontal pole.


Ruissen calls the freedom of religion “a universal human right.” He points out that the EU always presents itself as “a community of norms” but is now too often “silent in case of severe violations.” Therefore, he calls the European Union to “keep countries worldwide to the promises that all believers are free to confess their religion.”

Ten years ago, the European Union adopted a set of guidelines for the protection of freedom of religion. Yet, in practice, these guidelines are not carried out”, Ruissen points out. “The EU has a moral duty to protect this freedom of religion credibly.”


Jelle Creemers, director of the Institute for the Study of Freedom of Religion or Believe from the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Leuven, says that EU policies that stimulate the freedom of religion are not only about individual freedoms. In addition, they help to fight injustice, he points out. Also, these policies “support the threatened communities actively and form a basis on which people can blossom.”

He says to hope that the exposition helps people to remember the necessity and importance of this.

The exposition is open until September 22.



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