“The Code of Conduct is a valuable conflict prevention tool and in line with Council of Europe policies” expressed Ambassador Torbjørn Frøysnes, the Representative of Council of Europe in Brussels in a consultation with key stakeholders 26th November.

The consultation was convened by the working group on the “Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites”, representing Search for Common Ground, Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights and One World in Dialogue together with Religions for Peace.  Presentations highlighted the Code and how it is being pursued through implementation on the ground and efforts to have a UN General Assembly Resolution in its support.

Participants included diplomatic missions, EU officials and faith related organisations. The consultation confirmed that the Code is quite relevant as a tool for conflict prevention and increased understanding and respect for religious and cultural diversity.  Examples from field projects that implement elements of the Code illustrated how mobilisation of religious leaders and communities can counter violent conflicts related to ethnic and religious identities.

The working group had also a number of bilateral meetings with diplomatic missions and relevant officials in the European External Action Service and EU Commission. The working group expressed great hope that the Code may be an important reference concept for EU missions in countries where religious sites are vulnerable to attacks and desecrations.

With reference to Ambassador Frøysnes’ contribution during the consultation,  ECRL General Secretary, who is the RfP representative in the working group suggested that the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe should be presented with a proposal to pass a resolution in support of the Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites.

The European Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace (ECRL) brings together senior religious leaders from Europe’s historical religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam together with Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians. ECRL has participatory status with the Council of Europe. ECRL is one of five regional Interreligious Councils with the Religions for Peace network. Religions for Peace – accredited to the United Nations – is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition advancing common action for peace since 1970.