Open letter to France

Dear French citizens, Commission and Senate,

Only today (04.02.2024) I was able to read the bill being tabled, supposedly aimed to strengthen the fight against "sectarian drifts", and as a European citizen I feel to be in a position of remarking the following.

Passing that law would be a mistake for France.

Recurring cycles in the history of intollerance

In the 17th century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico illustrated how we have witnessed a turn over of moments of civilisation and moments of barbarism. France, evidently in the grip of a moment of barbarism, is once again proposing a law to strike down the so-called "sectarian drifts", to stifle any thought not aligned with the single thought so much in vogue today.

The European Parliament takes a stand against the persecution of Falun Gong in China

As reported in an article published in Bitter Winter by Yang Feng, according to a Falun Gong report, in 2023, 1,188 worshippers were sentenced to death, while 209 were killed. The thorny issue of organ harvesting to which Falun Gong worshippers sentenced to death are subjected, but also believers of other religions such as Uyghur Muslims and Christians of the Church of Almighty God, has come to the attention of the European Parliament (...)

Jehovah’s Witnesses fight Norway dangerous drift against freedom of religion or belief

The intolerant drift towards minority religions seems to know no rest in Europe, despite the dictates of the European Convention on Human Rights and the rulings promulgated by various courts in individual European states, such as the Court of Rome and, most recently, the Belgian Court of Cassation. The Netherlands also sees no reason to criminalise the restriction of contact with excluded ex-congregates.

Aldo Natale Terrin, obituary

It is with deep sorrow that we learn that Don Aldo Natale Terrin, a distinguished member of FOB's Scientific Committee, passed away on the evening of Tuesday, 9 January 2024.

Don Aldo Natale Terrin, priest of the Diocese of Padua, was born in Sandon on 23 December 1941 and was ordained to the priesthood on 8 July 1965. He was appointed as a teacher at the Minor Seminary of Thiene for secondary school. In the following months he also became a cooperator during the festivities in Roana (February-August 1966) and in Montegalda (August 1966-October 1967).

Update on the Buenos Aires Yoga School

Alessandro Amicarelli — On December 7, 2023, an important development happened in the Argentinian court case of the Buenos Aires Yoga School (BAYS). The Court of Appeals annulled the elevation to trial of the defendants and sent the case back to the investigating judge, urging him to evaluate the new evidence that had surfaced, in dialogue with the parties. The prosecutors filed an appeal in cassation against the Court of Appeals decision.

The Belgian Supreme Court brings justice to the Jehovah’s Witnesses

The year 2023 ends with a good news for the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgium. The Belgian Supreme Court definitively puts an end to the Ghent case, reaffirming the legitimacy of the practice, adopted by Jehovah's Witnesses and, essentially, by all religions and human associational groups, political or otherwise, of severing relations with those who have disaffiliated or been expelled from the congregation.

Belarus highest court liquidates the evangelical New Life Church

The New Life Church has been permanently disbanded. The latest appeals by the pastor did not deter the judges from doing so.

Pastor Vyacheslav Goncharenko no longer has a church. Last Monday, Belarus’ Supreme Court ruled that his church “New Life” is extremist and must be closed. The ruling concludes a long legal battle between the church and Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime.

The retaliation law strikes the FECRIS, at risk of dissolution

In the article published below, Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, describes a curious example of retaliation law that sees FECRIS - a supporter of the French About-Picard law of 12 June 2001, which provides for the dissolution of minority religious groups accused of 'abuse of weakness' (abus de faiblesse) against their followers - in the dock with a request for dissolution proposed by our French confederate CAP LC (Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, an NGO with ECOSOC consultative status).

Media and religious minorities: when persecution is 'between the lines'

We share an important contribution by Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, published in Bitter Winter on the issue of how the media demonise religious minorities. Already in the past, Fautré had denounced the Belgian media's campaigns against the Christian congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, giving misleading when not outright false information, which was punctually refused in court. But so be it, the damage was done and the aim achieved.

Celebrating the birth of AFRSL and 75 years of UDHR and beyond

Alessandro Amicarelli, chairman of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) and trustee of All Faiths Network UK, together with Massimo Introvigne, director in charge of Bitter Winter (online paper on Human Rights in China and the world), Rosita Soryte, director of the Observatory on the Religious Freedom of Refugees (ORLIR) and a member of the Scientific Committee of FOB, Eric Roux, president of the Union of the Churches of Scientology in France and Peter Zoherer, executive director of the Forum for Religious Freedom, Europe (FOREF Europe) ...

USCIRF Releases Report on Religious Garb and International Human Rights Law

Washington, DC – On Novembre 20, 2023  the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released the following new report: Religious Garb Restrictions and International Human Rights Law – This report analyzes how countries impermissibly restrict individuals’ freedom to wear garb expressing or in accordance with their religion or belief.

Spanish Jehovah's Witnesses indemnified by AEVTJ's anti-cultists

Nazism justified the extermination of the Jews - and other disliked minorities, including Jehovah's Witnesses - on the theory that they were a kind of disease that endangered the superior races, primarily the German Aryan race. Painful history, but past history... or maybe not! The anti-Spanish Association of the Victims of the Jehovah's Witnesses (AEVTJ) claims that being a Jehovah's Witness is like having 'diabetes', i.e. a disease that must be monitored, treated and possibly eradicated. For the good of mankind, that is.

The Proposed Freezing of Assets of Religious Corporations the Government Seeks to Dissolve: A Danger for All Faiths in Japan

by Bitter Winter — The proposed law immediately targets the Unification Church, based on controversial data about “victims” and “damages,” but establishes an unfair general principle with ominous implications for the future.

Scientology religion again in the cross hairs of repression in Russia

Although Russia is already engaged in a war that threatens to escalate into an apocalyptic nuclear conflict, the war on religious minorities also continues undaunted. Using questionable, if not downright illiberal, motives, they are pointed at as extremist organisations dangerous to the Russian population and culture. All this despite repeated condemnations by the ECHR.