Press Release No: 16/35
24 October 2016
Religious leaders, human rights advocates, and representatives from governments, youth and international organisations gathered in Zagreb on 21 and 22 October for a conference on religious minorities as part of culturally diverse societies.
As a result of their dialogue, participants released a communique calling for increased cooperation to prevent the persecution of religious minorities, create conditions for peaceful coexistence in diverse societies, and ensure ongoing dialogue between majority and minority churches and communities.
Speakers were drawn from the Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant traditions in the region. Envoys from governmental leaders of Serbia and Croatia underscored the importance of the event for contributing to the promotion of dialogue and finding common ground in the midst of significant historic differences. Other presenters stressed the importance of education, the complexity of plural identities, the role of international actors, and significant differences in church-state relations across Europe. All addressed the complexity of issues relating to religious minorities due to deep historical, cultural, and geopolitical issues.
Strong youth representation at the conference signalled hope for finding new ways forward. Ms Jelena Nestorović, representative of Serbian youth in Croatia, spoke about the need to change the overall atmosphere in society, especially through education and direct peaceful contact among different traditions and religious groups. Mr Mario Vrselja, president of Croatian youth in Serbia, highlighted the ways youth are taking initiative to build a more peaceful future. This included discussion of a joint declaration from minority Croatian and Serbian youth expressing solidarity and mutual support.
To see the final programme of events, please click here.
To read the full communique, please click here.
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 234 68 42
Fax +32 2 231 14 13
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of 115 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all across Europe, plus more than 40 National Council of Churches and Organisations in Partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.