On December 9-10th, World Youth Alliance Europe intern Maggie Snyder represented the World Youth Alliance at the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Implementation Meeting on Freedom of Religion or Belief at Hofburg Congress Centre in Vienna.
WYA heartily welcomes the opportunity given to NGOs and representatives of state to discuss new issues regarding freedom of religion, conscience, belief and expression in the OSCE region, as well as the overall commitment from the delegates protecting these fundamental freedoms observed during the conference.
One major issue addressed in the conference was the recent surge in the repression of religious freedom through broad and sweeping anti-discrimination measures. WYA presented the youth perspective on this problem as it relates to the recognition of human dignity. In the statement she presented during the third session- on Religious Symbols and Expression- Maggie Snyder enjoined representatives not to “let anti-discrimination measures infringe on the fundamental right to religion, and the rights of conscience and expression.”
These efforts garnered an extraordinarily positive response among the delegates. Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, Director of the OSCE/ODIHR, stated “For me personally, it was a very important point to understand that anti-discrimination laws could be a problem for freedom of religion.” Other representatives demonstrated similar appreciation for the awareness of this growing dilemma.
WYA hopes that this good step forward will be followed up on during further binding commitments by member states of the OSCE.
For questions regarding WYA Europe’s advocacy at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, please contact Marie-Caroline Leroux, Director of WYA Europe, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The World Youth Alliance is a global coalition of young people dedicated to promoting the dignity of the human person in policy and culture and to building solidarity between young people of developed and developing nations. With approximately one million members from more than 160 countries, the World Youth Alliance is one of the biggest coalitions of young people worldwide. www.wya.net