Norway is deeply concerned by the continuing acts of intolerance and violence against individuals based on their religion or belief.
The challenges we are facing are indeed global. According to Pew Research, over 75 percent of the world’s population live in states with restrictions on freedom of religion or belief.
In this regard, we assure the new Special Rapporteur of our cooperation in fulfilling his mandate, and welcome the methods of work and recommendations made in his new report.
It is our duty to work together to ensure the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religious or belief for all.
We are particularly worried by the rise of religious extremism in various parts of the world. We know all too well that religious hatred, discrimination, intolerance, and violence threatens the cohesion of our societies.
In his report, the Special Rapporteur refers to Council resolution 16/18.
Adopted by consensus in 2011, this resolution is paramount in the building of tolerance and marks a step towards the creation of a safe, global environment for all, regardless of one´s beliefs.
We have to work together to enhance implementation of existing legal regimes that protect individuals against discrimination and hate crimes, and we have to work together to increase interfaith and intercultural efforts.
By doing so, we will continue to take important steps towards the combatting of intolerance, discrimination, and violence against individuals based on their religion or belief.