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United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, has come to the island in order to attend some meetings which bring together religious leaders, lawmakers and human rights defenders from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, aiming to “strengthen and promote cooperation in cross-boundary communication to prevent religious violence.”

The Special Rapporteur also cooperates with the initiative of the “Interfaith Dialogue on the Cyprus Peace Process” in order to improve inter-religious dialogue on the island.

Bielefeldt stated that cooperation of the leading religious leaders on the island contributes to the development of freedom of religion and belief on the whole island. Indicating that the violence committed in the name of religion can be prevented through cross-boundary communications, Bielefeldt said their aim is to reach out to different actors of the MENA region, and to facilitate an exchange of their experiences in inter-religious or inter-faith dialogues.

The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference about the result of the meeting at the Home for Cooperation in the buffer zone on Thursday, October 8.

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