Chief Rabbi Rosen Speaks on secular/religious cooperation at Fundamental Rights Forum

20 June 2016

Chief Rabbi David Rosen

The 2016 Fundamental Rights Forum organized by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) brought together more than 100 experts to discuss critical human rights issues facing the European Union and to seek solutions through targeted dialogue. At the forum, held in Vienna from 20 to 23 June, participants explored three crucial topics in human rights: mitigating the continuing refugee crisis; discrimination and exclusion; and violation of privacy and personal data.

The participants of diverse backgrounds examined potential innovations in fundamental rights, rights-based governance, empowering rights holders and sustainable growth, and through discussion and knowledge sharing, concluded the forum with a list of actionable suggestions for international organizations, governments and civil society on countering these issues.

Rabbi Rosen, member of the International Dialogue Centre’s (KAICIID) Board of Directors, spoke from his expertise on the common space between religious traditions’ understanding and practice of human rights and emphasized the importance of cooperation between religious and secular institutions.

Identifying where contemporary society must seek and strive for a “common space”, Rosen framed the issue as a search for “the delicate balance between the advancement of individual rights and collective identities”, noting this search presented challenges, in which religious traditions and their representatives play a critical role. “What we need to avoid above all in this regard is the perception of these rights and needs as hostile to one another. That will only compound alienation and hostility”, said Rosen.

“In contemporary Europe in particular it is essential that there is a constructive ongoing engagement on the part of secular agencies with religious communities to continuously negotiate this difficult but essential tension for the wellbeing of the wider society as a whole,” Rosen concluded.


The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights is one of the EU’s decentralized agencies that provides expert advice to the institutions of the EU and the member states on a range of issues and helps to ensure that the fundamental rights of people living in the EU are protected. The Forum was created as an inclusive and innovative platform to draw in contributors including leading experts, policy makers and practitioners from all walks of life.