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HRC31: Denmark welcomes dialogue with UN Special Rapporteurs on Privacy and on Freedom of Religion and Belief

09.03.2016  10:25

Clustered ID with Special Rapporteur on Privacy. Mr. Joseph Cannactaci, and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt

9 March 2016

Thank you Mr. President,
Denmark would like to thank the Special Rapporteur on privacy for his presentation on the activities of his office. Mr. Cannacti, we fully support your mandate. We regret that your report has been made available at short notice only. We would like to take the opportunity to ask you to elaborate on the challenges you may have encountered so far with respect to your mandate and what States may do to facilitate your work further.
Turning to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Denmark would like to thank Mr. Bielefeldt for presenting his report to the Human Rights Council.

We strongly welcome the focus of your report on the relationship between the right to freedom of religion or belief and the right to freedom of expression. We indeed share your view that there is a positive interrelatedness between these two freedoms and that they mutually reinforce each other in facilitating free and democratic societies. We also agree with you that rights holders are human beings, not religions or belief systems.
We furthermore agree with you that interfaith dialogue can play an important and constructive role in combating intolerance based on religion or belief. Such intolerance may ultimately lead to discrimination, violence and persecution of religious or belief communities and it is therefore crucial to prevent it.

You mention in your report that women are often underrepresented in interreligious communication. We share your view that this situation should change. In this context, could you share with us some successful experiences of increasing the participation of women in such dialogues as well as examples of tangible impact such participation have had on combating intolerance?

Mr. Bielefeldt, as your mandate draws towards its close, Denmark would like to take this opportunity also to express our full support to your mandate as well as our deep appreciation of your valuable contribution to the protection of freedom of religion or belief over the past six years. We certainly look forward to receiving you on your official visit to Denmark next week.

Thank you, Mr. President.