2022

Why dozens of NGOs and individuals ask that FECRIS' Consultative Status with the United Nations ECOSOC be revoked

The following is an appeal promoted by Bitter Winter, an online magazine on religious liberty and human rights published by CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions. OB, signatory of the appeal, over the years has published a number of articles on FECRIS and its role in spreading anti-cult ideology.

2022 Annual Report relesed by USCIRF

Washington, D.C. – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released its 2022 Annual Report documenting developments during 2021, including significant regress in countries such as Afghanistan and the Central African Republic (CAR). USCIRF’s 2022 Annual Report provides recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad.

The United Nations, Transitional Justice, and Religious Liberty

ABSTRACT: The paper reviews the main United Nations documents on “transitional justice,” i.e., on how countries that move from an authoritarian to a democratic rule should deal with past injustices. The question was hotly discussed with respect to post-Communist Eastern Europe, including Lithuania, but also concerns post-authoritarian Taiwan. The paper argues that past violations of religious liberty should also be addressed by transitional justice, through revisions of the court cases, legal reforms, public acknowledgement of past wrongdoings, and compensations to the victims.

Tai Ji Men discrimination discussed on March 1, the United Nation Zero Discrimination Day

The United Nations Zero Discrimination Day is held each year in March 1st. On this year 2022, Alessandro Amicarelli, chairman of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB), introduced one of the bi-monthly webinars on the Tai Ji Men case titled “Tai Ji Men: 25 Years of Discrimination.” The webinar was organized by CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions, and HRWF, Human Rights Without Frontiers, a Brussels-based NGO.

Government faces ire for opposing Women’s March in Pakistan

By Aftab Alexander Mughal — Civil-society organisations, including women rights groups, condemned the government minister’s proposal to ban ‘Aurat (women) March.’ Conservative politicians and a section of the media are also supporting the said proposal. Various women’s marches, rallies and events are scheduled to be held on 8 March on the International Women’s Day.

How the anti-cult movement has participated to fuel Russian anti-Ukraine rhetoric

Far from endorsing any political stance on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, aware of the old adage that warns that "between the two quarrels there is always a third who enjoys", we publish this article taken from The European Times by Jan Leonid Bornstein, which illustrates the role of the anti-cult movement in fomenting intolerance and division between religions, cultures and peoples.

Something is changing in Pakistan

In the following article, Aftab Alexander Mughal, director of Minority Concern Pakistan, informs us of the position taken by the authoritative Council of Islamic Ideology against the violence for blasphemy that shamefully bloody Pakistan, fueling the hope that ignorance and superstition will give way to the knowledge and respect of the dictates of the Koran.

ECHR rules two judgments in favour of 14 Jehovah’s Witnesses against Russia

By Willy Fautré — On 22 February, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued two judgments in favor of 14 Jehovah’s Witnesses and found that Russia violated their fundamental rights to freedom of religion. Russia has been ordered to pay a total of over 99,000 euros ($112,323 U.S.) in compensation for violations that included mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement officials between 2010 and 2012.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, THE LAWS OF 1929 AND TREATIES: an impossible reform?

On January 28 an online seminar entitled "Religious Freedom, Laws of 1929 and Treaties: an impossible reform?" was held. It was organized by the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) in order to address an issue of great interest in the debate of Italian scholars who are interested in religious freedom, hoping for an important reform at national level that could ensure greater equality of religious and spiritual groups.

Intolerance always hides a weakness

by Steno Sari — Religious freedom means the possibility of believing in what one likes, as well as not believing, and often includes the fight against dogmatism, prejudice and intolerance. Throughout history, it has cost an incalculable number of lives burnt in bloody religious conflicts. Safeguarding this freedom concerns the essence of human dignity and can rightly be considered the litmus test for the respect of all other fundamental rights and freedoms, since it is their synthesis and keystone.

Human Rights, China and the Winter Olympics – Boycott or not boycott?

The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games are upon us and the debate on whether to participate or boycott the event that will give more and more prestige to China, to its government by mitigating or hiding its policies of violation of human rights, is more current than ever. On the subject we publish an article signed by the scholar Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy for Human Rights Without Frontiers.

The Holocaust of Jehovah's Witnesses. Persecuted and forgotten

It takes courage. It would have been enough to fill out an abjuration form in which the prisoner declared to disassociate himself from Jehovah's Witnesses. But almost no one signed it even though they were aware of the fate that awaited them. Another great lesson in moral and spiritual integrity offered by the Christian congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. A rare good, in this and any other age.

Another giant statue of Buddha torn down in Drago County

Tibet Watch — Monks and civilians arrested and tortured in detention amid a wave of demolitions. Tibet Watch has learned from sources that another giant statue of Buddha was torn down amid a wave of ongoing demolitions in Drago County that has also seen a 99-foot Buddha statue, 45 prayer wheels, and a Tibetan monastic school torn down. Several monks and civilians were detained for expressing their disapproval. They have been given little food while in detention and at least some have been tortured.

Another Christian sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in Pakistan

CLAAS (06.01.2022) – A Christian man, Zafar Bhatti, 58, has been sentenced to death by the Pakistan session court of Rawalpindi, after being charged with blasphemy in 2012.

He is accused of sending blasphemous text messages from his phone but has always denied the allegation against him.

Bhatti faced a difficult situation when in the same year the District Bar Association Rawalpindi passed a resolution that no lawyers of District Bar Association would appear in any case under Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code on behalf of any accused.

RUSSIA: "Foreign agents", "undesirable organisations", and freedom of religion or belief

by Victoria Arnold — Russia has used increasingly strict legislation on "foreign agents" (a term which has connotations of spying) and "undesirable organisations" to curtail, complicate, or prohibit the activities of organisations which promote human rights and monitor their violation, including that of freedom of religion and belief. This "indirectly affects the people human rights defenders stand up for", says Aleksandr Verkhovsky of the SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis (branded a "foreign agent").

China destroys a Buddha statue to destroy its religion

While the West is celebrating the holiday season with, New Year and Epiphany, and China prepares to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Tibetan people mourn the destruction - yet another - of a symbol of their millennial religion and culture implemented by the despotic and dismal dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party. A little less than a month to the start of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China is once again showing the international community its true face in disregard for the human rights that animate the Games and the feelings of the other participating nations.