12/09/2011, 00.00
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A day against the persecution of Christians, but especially against religious intolerance

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti appreciates the idea of an annual day to commemorate the 200 million persecuted Christians. But OSCE efforts against religious intolerance is important, especially in the countries of North Africa and the former Soviet republics.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - An annual international day to remind the world of persecution of Christians: This is the idea that for some time now has been discussed within the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and it has met with the appreciation of the Holy See, even if the Vatican seems to push more for a commitment against intolerance of all religions.

At the 18th OSCE Ministerial Council, held in Vilnius (Lithuania) on December 6, Msgr. Dominique Mamberti, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, encouraged "the participating States to report hate crimes against Christians, I wish to express my hope that in the near future there is a sequel to the Rome Conference [held last September - ed], in particular in discussions with our partners for cooperation. The celebration of International Day against the persecution and discrimination of Christians could prove an important sign that governments are eager to tackle this serious issue. "

Referring to Benedict XVI's Message for World Day of Peace 2011, religious freedom, Msgr. Mamberti recalled that “Christians are now the religious group that suffers the highest number of persecution because of their faith .... There may be more than two hundred million Christians of different denominations, who are in difficulty because of legal and cultural structures that lead to their discrimination. "

The Vatican Secretary expressed appreciation for the OSCE efforts to support religious freedom. He recalled that "the Astana Summit Declaration [of 2010] clearly stated that ' greater efforts must be made to promote freedom of religion or belief and to combat intolerance and discrimination'. The right to religious freedom, despite being repeatedly proclaimed by the international community and in the constitutions of most states, continues today be widely violated".

"This commitment to combating religious intolerance is what motivates the Holy See," a Vatican official told AsiaNews. "This work which is of utmost important would be fitting for the OSCE."

The OSCE is an international organization that developed after the Helsinki Conference of 1973, for the promotion of peace, political dialogue, justice and cooperation in Europe. It currently has 56 member countries and is in fact the largest regional security organization. Among the member states and partners are the former Soviet republics and the countries of North Africa. In recent times in these two areas serious attacks against the religious freedom of Muslims and Christians have been registered.

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