On July 9, 2020, the Swiss anti-cult associations JW Opfer Hilfe (Aid to the Victims of Jehovah’s Witnesses) and Fachstelle infoSekta (Center for Information on Cults) issued a press release, announcing that a 2019 decision of the District Court of Zurich had become final, which acquitted Dr. Regina Ruth Spiess, a former employee of infoSekta and current representative of JW Opfer Hilfe, from criminal charges of defamation brought by the Swiss Jehovah’s Witnesses, (JW Opfer Hilfe and Fachstelle infoSekta 2020).
The USCIRF Report on the Anti-cult Ideology, and the Statement of the Conference on the Situation in Russia
By Alessandro AMICARELLI, attorney, London, president of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) — Speech held on September 3, 2020 at the online Seminar “Jehovah’s Witnesses and Their Opponents: Russia, the West, and Beyond”.
It is my pleasure to introduce the topic of the role of anti-cult organizations’ ideology in the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide and the role of FECRIS and its allies within this field.
«U.S. Government: Publicly censure Alexander Dvorkin and the Saint Irenaeus of Leon Information-Consultation Center (SILIC)) for their ongoing disinformation campaign against religious minorities.» U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recently published the report entitled “The Anti-cult Movement and Religious Regulation in Russia and the Former Soviet Union”.
There have been numerous declarations of condemnation of the discriminatory and illiberal attitude that the Russian Federation has shown for years towards Jehovah's Witnesses. Among these statements, the one issued on 11 December 2018 by Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, stands out, in which he states that "Jehovah's Witnesses are also Christians and I do not understand why they should be persecuted".
On June 2nd, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom, instructing the U.S. State Department to prioritize international religious freedom in its implementation of foreign policy and budget.
«Religious freedom, America’s first freedom, is a moral and national security imperative» the executive order reads. «Religious freedom for all people worldwide is a foreign policy priority of the United States, and the United States will respect and vigorously promote this freedom».
“Anti-cultists” sometimes accuse religious groups of committing child abuse or human trafficking. But the story we tell here reveals that some leading representatives of the “anti-cult” movement may themselves be guilty of horrific crimes involving children. And their colleagues are culpably silent.
The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2019 organised by the OSCE ODIHR was hosted this year at Warsaw National Stadium from 16 to 27 September 2019.
The HDIM is an annual event gathering representatives of the OSCE 57 participating States and of a number of NGOs registered with the OSCE discussing relevant human rights topics.
During the last OSCE sessions on Freedom of Religion or Belief, we exposed the harmful activities of FECRIS (the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sects) in Russia and its integral financing by the French Government. Members of FECRIS and of its Russian branch, the Saint Ireneus of Lyons Centre for Religious Studies which is affiliated to the Orthodox Church, have been waging for years a campaign against non-Orthodox minorities in order to eradicate them from the Russian territory.
The situation of religious minorities in Russia has been a cause of serious concerns for several years. While Russia hosts high-level academic institutes and tolerant intellectuals, it is also home to radicals who believe that the Russian Orthodox tradition should be defended by cracking down on minority religions.
The prominent scholar and expert of religious movements Massimo Introvigne reported in this article the Chinese reactions to the heavy criticisms expressed in the annual report on Human Rights of the US State Department. It is at least paradoxical that the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party reacted by accusing the US of violating human rights. It is not that the United States on the issue of human rights are exempted from criticisms, at least, for example, with regard to the death penalty, which has been definitively abolished only in 19 out of 50 the States but the comparison to China does not hold up.
In these days the international press reports about tortures suffered in Russia by members of the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Washington Post of March 2 speaks of “Russia’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses is reviving dark practices of the past”. The last two years have been really difficult for the Jehovah's Witnesses (even if the discriminatory acts against them date back to at least the 90s) since, implementing the controversial Yarovaya law, the Russian Supreme Court has labeled them "extremist organization".
In line with the ongoing project “Right to Truth” announced last 4 February in Florence at the end of presentation event for the book of proceedings of the FOB convention, Paris Human Right Attorney Patricia Duval, member of FOB Scientific Committee, wrote the following article for the prestigious magazine Coscienza e Libertà.
The 15th of March 2018 on the occasion of the 37th UN Human Rights Council atty. Amicarelli, chairman of FOB, has represented at the United Nations, the European Federation for Freedom of Belief at the event “Deterioration of Religious Freedom in Eastern Europe” organised by the UN accredited NGO and FOB associate, CAP-LP, Coordination of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of Belief.
Video and text of the paper by Thierry Valle, Director of the NGO CAP Liberté de Conscience, at the International Convention Law and Freedom of Belief ein Europe, an arduous journey, held in Florence on 18-19 January 2018.
Video and text of the paper by Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers Int., at the International Convention Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe, an arduous journey, held in Florence on 18-19 January 2018.
Video and text of the paper by lawyer Patricia Duval, member of the Scientific Committee of FOB, at the International Convention, Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe, an arduous journey, held in Florence on 18-19 January 2018.
FOB – A secretive and very close conference against religious minorities took place in the city of Salekhard – which is the regional capital of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Russia (YANAO). Subject of the conference was “Destructive and pseudo-religious organizations, sects and cults: challenges and solutions”. It took place from 27 to 29 September 2017 in the administration building of the YANAO Government.
We cannot fail to utter our most lively worry for what is happening in Russia versus the religious minorities as well as for the disturbing similitude between nowadays draconian application of a law for national safety, so become freedom-killing (the Yarovaya law) and what happened less than one century ago not just in the soviet sphere but also elsewhere in the world, in countries later become the stage of the worst historical facts and the most heinous tragedies of the twentieth century. However, it is also mandatory to investigate the occurrence so as to understand the root of it.