On December 10, 2020, we announced an appeal signed by 14 NGOs, including FOB, to the authorities of China, Iran and Russia to release the religious prisoners, at risk of being infected with COVID-19. This appeal was based on HRWF's annual report: “In Prison for Their Faith 2020”. Today we are publishing a brief summary of the HRWF report.
HRWF (10.12.2020) – Fourteen human rights NGOs call upon the authorities of China, Iran and Russia to release religious prisoners under threat of being infected by COVID-19. These are the three countries that have the highest number of believers of all faiths behind bars, according to Human Rights Without Frontiers’ (HRWF) database of FoRB prisoners which documents thousands of individual cases.
By Alessandro Amicarelli — Covid-19 has stopped the world, but it did not stop the persecution of minority groups in several countries. Our organisation, the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) which works with the All Faiths Network, had more work to do denouncing abuses and reporting the perpetrators to protect the victims, whilst keeping on advocating the protection of freedom of religion and belief for everyone.
Our federated CAP LC organised an event to be held on March 4, 2020, as a sideline of the Human Rights Council, a conference on Human Rights in the People’s Republic of China. On March 3, the HRC Secretariat announced that all side-events were canceled due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Despite the cancellation, conference speakers met at the United Nations to make their voices heard on human rights concerns in the People’s Republic of China.
As representatives of NGOs, religious organizations, and citizens concerned about freedom of religion and belief and the dignity of every human being, we call the attention of the political authorities on the dramatic situation of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in China. The CAG is a Chinese Christian religious movement, credited by the Chinese authorities with four million members in China. Since its establishment in 1991, it has been systematically persecuted. Irrespective of its theology, we believe that the CAG, as any other religion, has the right to freely profess its faith.
An open letter to the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy
Dear President Sergio Mattarella:
Dear Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte:
Chinese President Xi Jinping is about to start his visit to Italy. We understand that China is an important commercial partner of Italy and trade agreements will be at the center of the meetings. Italy has consistently been a staunch defender of human rights in different contexts, and has repeatedly stated that human rights should be part of all bilateral negotiations.
Annual U.S. Report on Human Rights singles out China as worst violator, denounces torture against Uyghurs, Falun Gong and The Church of Almighty God. China reacted in “unusually strong terms” after the U.S. Department of State unveiled on March 13 its yearly report on human rights, covering the year 2018. Introducing the report, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had denounced China as the worst country in the world for human rights. Although other countries were also mentioned, Pompeo insisted that China is “in a league of its own when it comes to human rights violations.”
Received from Bitter Winter and HRWF. FOB shares and endorses their efforts and projects to contrast Chinese religioius persection.
The Universal Periodic Review of the state of human rights in China at the United Nations saw several major countries publicly denounce the CCP and a major demonstration in front of the Palais des Nations, with Muslim Uyghurs, Tibetan Buddhists, members of The Church of Almighty God, and Bitter Winter, united in exposing the Chinese persecution of all religions.
Heavily persecuted in China, with many documented cases of torture and extra-judicial killings, hundreds of members of The Church of Almighty God have escaped to South Korea, where they are seeking refugee status. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is pursuing them also in Korea. It has coerced or persuaded with threats their relatives to go to Korea and askthat the refugees “return home,” i.e. go back to China where they would not go “home” but to jail, and is staging false “spontaneous demonstrations” with the help of local organizations agains the “cults.”
In April, Germany deported back to China an Uyghur asylum seeker who “disappeared” after his repatriation. Now, Germany has apologized for the “mistake,” yet plans to deport on August 31 Sister Zhao of The Church of Almighty God, who will likely “disappear” as well.
German authorities have announced that on August 31 they will forcibly deport to China Sister Zhao, an asylum seeker currently detained in Ingelheim who resisted repatriation on July 9.
The Board of Immigration Appeals granted on August 13 a stay of removal to the leader of The Church of Almighty God in four Chinese provinces, who was to be deported to China after August 15.
Mr. Russell Abrutyn, attorney for the leader of The Church of Almighty God in four Chinese provinces currently detained in Detroit, who faces deportation back to China and possible execution there, has filed a motion to reopen her case, with new evidence.
Dear Chancellor Merkel:
We are NGOs active in the field of religious liberty, and write about the urgent situation of a Chinese refugee, Ms. Zhao, cur ently detained at the Aufsichtsund Dienstleistungsdirektion Landeseinrichtung für Asylbegehrende und Ausreisepflichtige in Ingelheim, after she resisted forcible deportation to China on July 9.
We urge you to consider that, should Ms. Zhao be returned to China, she would certainly be arrested and might be subject to torture or “disappear” while in custody.
The President of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) Attorney Alessandro (Alex) Amicarelli, participated to the opening event held at the American Senate that marked the beginning of the Religious Freedom Week organized by Secretary of State Mr Michael Pompeo in Washington. Together with CESNUR* director Prof. Massimo Introvigne and and Mrs Rosita Šorytė, Lithuanian diplomat and President of ORLIR**, Mr.
The religious freedom In China – if we dare to call it so – is granted only to some “State Churches” that are approved by the totalitarian Communist Party government. All the other religious communities are not admitted. Since 1995 the government issued and routinely update a list of so called Xie Jiao (literally that are considered illegal. The Chinese Criminal Code article # 300 foresees a jail penalty of 3 to 7 tears “or more” for the sole active membership to a religious movement included in the Xie Jiao list.
Bitter Winter, the magazine specialising on Religious Liberty and Human Rights in China, has interviewed our Chairman regarding the situation of religious freedom in China with a specific focus on the cases of arbitrary detention of the members of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) heavily persecuted in China.
Practicing What We Preach in Europe
Last 28th of June at Brussels in the premises of the prestigious Solvay Library at the European Parliament the Faith and Freedom Summit 2018 was successfully held.
Speakers and participants from several countries attended a packed one-day conference that covered the many aspects of the protection of freedom of religion and belief in Europe and its challenges in the modern society.
An Open Letter to President Trump to Save Demei Zou
Nine non-governmental organizations appeal to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to intervene in the case of Demei Zou, an asylum seeker of a Chinese Christian new religious movement, The Church of Almighty God, who is detained in Detroit, Michigan and faces deportation to China.
Dear President Trump: