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Portugal: Evangelicals warn about “limitations on freedom of expression on all religious matters”

The World, European and Portuguese Evangelical Alliances  submit a report on the religious situation in Portugal for the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

FUENTES WEA AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus GENEVA 11 DE ABRIL DE 2024 18:10 h
Lisbon, Portugal. / Photo: [link]Mark Lawson[/link], Unsplash, CC0.

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), along with the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA), and the Portuguese Evangelical Alliance (AEP) recently submitted a joint report on the religious situation in Portugal, to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) ahead of its 47th session, that will take place next November.



 



Religious freedom



The report points out that, “although Portuguese law on religious freedom is one of the best in the world, legally speaking, in practical terms, there is still inadequacy to its contents and religious illiteracy”.



“There are still limitations on freedom of expression on all religious matters and, especially, regarding Christian morality in any public instance, with special intensity in the media, which limit any interventions outside places designated for religious topics”, stresses the WEA.



 



Social issues



The document also highlights the key role of the evangelical community in supporting and integrating migrants, as well as the importance of the social wok of the Portuguese evangelical associations and churches in the country, and the efforts made in inter-religious dialogue.



Despite the public recognition, “equal access to chaplaincies in prisons, hospitals, and military forces is not guaranteed to religious communities”, denounces the report.



Furthermore, it warns about “the criminalization of healthcare professionals, teachers, and religious individuals” who oppose the gender self-determination legislation. “That severely limits conscience rights, parents’ freedom of education, religious teaching, and freedom of expression rights”.



 



Recommendations



In order to solve those matters, the report recommends to train public officials on religious issues; to eases the access to all religious communities to chaplaincies; and to legislate the integration of evangelical schools and seminaries into the national education system.



It also asks the government to facilitate in all respects the construction places of worship for all religious communities, and “review all legislation regarding gender self-determination to ensure recognition of social and religious perspectives that do not accept it”.



You can read the full report here.



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