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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BRUSSELS — The European Commission Wednesday announced the appointment of Christos Stylianides, a Cypriot politician, as Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union.
The decision will take effect immediately, said the EU's executive body in a press release.
"Freedom of religion or belief is under attack in many parts of the world. Today's appointment shows the Commission's commitment to address this challenge and to ensure that the rights of all faiths and beliefs are respected," it noted.
The special envoy will establish a dialogue with national authorities and other stakeholders in countries suffering from discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.
He will support for intercultural and interreligious dialogue processes, including encouraging dialogue between representatives of different faiths and the setting up of joint initiatives, it said.
He will put in place measures to target de-radicalization and prevention of extremism on grounds of religion or belief in non-EU countries. In cooperation with authorities from non-EU countries, he will promote religious diversity and tolerance within educational programs and curricula.
As former EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management from 2014 until 2019, Stylianides repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to human rights and freedom of religion or belief, it noted.
Today's appointment follows a gap of almost two years since the departure of the previous envoy, Jan Figel, a Slovak politician.
Stylianides tweeted on his appointment, “I’ve always been committed to defending & promoting this fundamental human right. I’ll work with the European institutions, IOs & NGOs to achieve the goals of my mandate & assist EU’s international efforts to protect human rights & promote freedom of religion & reconciliation.
“I deeply thank the College of Commissioners at EU Commission for appointing me Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) outside the EU. I accept this appointment with full understanding of the importance of this role.” — Agencies
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