OTTAWA – The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Religious Liberty Commission yesterday released a report detailing the nature and effects of religious persecution on children. This report is part of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s (EFC) continuing focus on public policy issues that impact children, whose presence and vulnerability often goes unnoticed.
Entitled The Overlooked Demographic: A Report on the Impact of Religious Persecution on Children, the 23-page document briefly considers various ways in which children are uniquely affected by religious discrimination and persecution.
“There are a number of areas in the world where religious freedoms are severely restricted”, states Anita Levesque, Co-ordinator for the Religious Liberty Commission. “The report considers concepts and also highlights recent situations in which children have suffered violent attacks or difficult social repercussions because of their religious affiliation. The report also gives consideration to the psychological impact of religious persecution on children, and makes recommendations to the Government of Canada.”
“This report is intended to move forward discussion about the particular needs of children encountering persecution and the responsibilities of the church, non-governmental organizations and government to address those needs,” adds EFC vice-president, and current chair of the Religious Liberty Commission, Don Hutchinson. “The members of the RLC are hopeful that this report will contribute to an increased understanding and focus on our duty as adults to have a high regard for the best interests of children in our behaviour and the development of government policies.”
The report discusses the role of the church and government in protecting the rights of children, and provides select examples of organizations that are responding to child victims of persecution. It concludes by making recommendations to the Canadian government in regard to both foreign and domestic policy initiatives.
The Overlooked Demographic: A Report on the Impact of Religious Persecution on Children is available here.