News from Europe

British Parliamentarians urge governments to consider releasing prisoners of conscience

The group said in a statement: "Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that 'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion'.


As efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19 continue, the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief has called on governments around the world to fight the spread of the disease in prisons. 

It has urged them to honour human rights by releasing all those who are imprisoned for their religion or beliefs. The group claimed that prisons in these countries are generally overcrowded and unhygienic, with prisoners having limited access to appropriate healthcare and little capacity to self-isolate. Because of this, it said detainees are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Yet, around the world, the governments of countries who are signatories of the ICCPR and other relevant human rights instruments continue to imprison countless individuals for nothing more than their peacefully held beliefs.”

The APPG said governments must “fulfill their obligations to protect the health and human rights of their citizens by releasing all those who are imprisoned on the grounds of their religion or belief.”

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