The European Union has appointed a new Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU.
Frans van Daele was given the role after over a year of vacancy and repeated for the position to be filled.
The appointment was confirmed by the Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas, who said Van Daele would be “committed to ensure that all faiths and beliefs are respected around the globe and to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue.”
Van Daele is a Belgian diplomat and has served as the Belgian Ambassador to the United States, as well as Permanent Representative to NATO.
Persecution watchdog Christian Solidarity Worldwide has applauded the appointment.
Its Europe liaison officer Jonathan de Leyser said: “CSW congratulates Baron van Daele on his appointment. We look forward to working with the Special Envoy to develop even further the EU’s capacity and proclivity to promote and protect the fundamental human right of freedom of religion or belief, for people of all faiths and beliefs.
“Given the institutional position of the mandate, we commend to the Special Envoy an exceptionally close and complementary working relationship with the Special Representative for Human Rights and the EEAS, as this will help to ensure that FoRB continues to be advanced as an indivisible element of the EU’s wider human rights policy.”