EU religious freedom envoy vacant while Afghan faith minorities face deepening crisis

Amidst the unfolding religious freedom crisis in Afghanistan, the position of “Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU” has, again, been left vacant. Christos Stylianides has accepted a different position after less than five months in the role.

“Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith. The current plight of Christians, Shia Muslims, and other religious minorities in Afghanistan highlights the need for a Special Envoy to quickly get to work, focusing on the needs of the most persecuted worldwide. A swift reappointment is crucial in showing real commitment to improving the precarious situations religious minorities are facing worldwide,” said Adina Portaru, Senior Counsel for ADF International in Brussels.

The European Commission had appointed Stylianides this May after the position had been left vacant for two years. Human rights experts had raised concern over the poor resourcing and staffing provided to carry out the mandate.