State Secretary for Political Affairs Frano Matušić participated in the third Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) ministerial conference, held online 16-17 November 2020. This year’s conference was organized by Poland, following the previous two conferences organized by the US in 2018 and 2019, which Croatia also attended.
Participating in the conference were 60 odd representatives of countries and international organizations, discussing topical matters concerning the freedom of religion or belief and underlining the need to protect it during the COVID-19 pandemic. Croatia condemned the persecution and violence against Christians and religious minorities around the world, highlighting the national legal framework aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination as well as developing an atmosphere of tolerance and inclusivity, underscoring the example of the Muslim community in Croatia as an important and respectable part of the Croatian society.
Croatia supported the thematic statements on 1) interreligious and interfaith dialogue; 2) protection of religious freedoms during the COVID-19 pandemic; 3) protection of persecuted religious minorities and 4) link between religious freedoms and Agenda 2030.
As part of the conference, on 17 November the first annual Ministerial Forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance was held. Croatia joined the Alliance at its founding meeting in February this year. Reflecting on its experiences from the Homeland War, Croatia supported the Declaration on Safe Places of Worship and underlined the importance of education in creating a pluralist and democratic society.