Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy focuses on religious freedom

Czaputowicz said that freedom of religion or belief is closely related to such fundamental rights as freedom of association or freedom of speech. Marcin Obara/PAP

The eighth Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy was held in the Polish capital on Thursday, focusing on the freedom of religion or belief and the governments' role in protecting this freedom.

This year's event, held under the motto 'Freedom of Religion or Belief as a Pillar of Democracy,' included three panel discussions, i.e. 'The freedom of religion or belief and the state,' 'Interreligious and intercultural dialogue' and 'Building tolerance and understanding.'

The general aim of this year's conference was to underline the links between freedom of religion and democratic processes in the world.

The inauguration speech was delivered by Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.

Czaputowicz said that freedom of religion or belief is closely related to such fundamental rights as freedom of association or freedom of speech. He also said that today more and more countries restrict religious freedom, and about one third of the global population suffer from some kind of religious persecution.

"We oppose all forms of restricting freedom of religion and belief, and we are against all acts of discrimination and violence based on religious differences," the Polish minister said.

He also said that this was the reason behind the UN's decision to declare August 22 the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, which was a Polish initiative.

The three key elements in promoting religious freedom are education, responsibility of the government and international cooperation, according to Czaputowicz.

Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised the first Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy in 2012.