Policy Recommendations

Colombia

  • The international community should assist in training officials of the Colombian authorities in order to help them implement effective policies which protect the human rights of the indigenous population without undermining their traditional autonomy, self-determination and identity. In this way, the living conditions of those members who have converted to Christianity can be improved.
  • The international community should reinforce the Colombian government’s dialogue with criminal networks and its actions to combat corruption and drug trafficking. This will help safeguard national and international security and improve the living conditions of persecuted Christians and others in areas dominated by organized crime.
  • The international community should urgently press the Colombian government to speed up peace negotiations with the remaining guerrilla groups in the country, so that these can relinquish their control of marginalized areas so that the citizens in these regions – especially Christians – can live their lives without fear.
  • The international community should put pressure on the Colombian government to carry out a transparent and democratic electoral process, in which every party can be heard and supported, without discrimination of any kind, especially for religious reasons.
  • The international community should put pressure on the Colombian government to prevent the harassment of political and social leaders when speaking out about their Christian beliefs and encourage the authorities to sanction every act of discrimination or violence for religious reasons.

Mexico

  • The Mexican government, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, UN and the international community should cooperate with indigenous authorities to integrate Freedom of Religion or Belief as a fundamental right into indigenous laws and develop a plan to set out how to preserve traditional cultures and values while guaranteeing the co-existence of different faiths.
  • The International community (especially UN and OAS) and Mexican government should ensure that citizens of all faiths maintain full access to the media and equal participation in public debates. They should tackle and counter the slander and ridicule of Christian values and promote a pluralistic and healthy space for all religious groups to fully express and exercise their religion or belief.
  • The government should guarantee by law and in practice the full rights and equal treatment and benefits of all religious minorities, including Protestant Christianity. For this, it is necessary that the constitutional protection of religious freedom follow the established in Article 18 of the UNDHR and facilitates its legislative development in each Federative entity and the application of its content by the institutions of the State. Many times the treatment of matters of religion has been reduced to respecting State-Church secular principles and this carries with it many misinterpretations that leave Christians of all denominations unprotected.
  • The international community should pay special attention to the position of vulnerable groups in Mexico, particularly that of actively practicing Christians. They should also recognize the violations of religious freedom, including the vulnerability of Christians in a context of organized crime (particularly Christians engaged in social work with youths and drug addicts), without the situations being ignored or minimized by their relationship with the Church or by the fear of reprisals by aggressors. Efforts in the field of state reforms, corruption prevention, strengthening of the rule of law and human rights are also essential to Mexican society as a whole.
  • The international community should work together with the government to create a system in which churches and Christian leaders who are victims of extortion feel safe to denounce threats against them and allow investigations of these cases to be public and transparent in order to avoid impunity and motivate complaints of similar cases.
  • Mexico is one the signatories of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. However, corruption levels within the country are high. Mexico is also the country with the world’s highest number of abductions. The international community should assist the government in tackling corruption at all levels. Also, the infiltration of organized crime in public institutions by means of corruption should be addressed.

 

The Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America is a program of the Foundation Platform for Social Transformation, a registered charity in Voorburg, The Netherlands under Chamber of Commerce #50264249.

Copyright © 2018 - Foundation Platform for Social Transformation

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