The freedom of belief and the imaginary crimes

by Nicola Colaianni
Former councilor of the Supreme Court of Cassation and full professor of ecclesiastic law, University of Bari

Freedom of conscience, religion and thought is the most fragile and vulnerable of all because it can be compressed and suppressed even subliminally, with messages and stimuli below the perception of the subjects. And the offense can come, not only from the public authorities, but also from the same communities in which individuals perform, in particular, their religious personality.

Flogging a dead horse: The return of anti-cultism in Italy

by Massimo Introvigne (thanks to www.neweurope.eu)

In 2018, two Italian journalists, Flavia Piccinni and Carmine Gazzanni, published a mediocre book called Nella setta (In the Cult). It included the usual laundry list of vituperations against the “cults.” The language was carefully chosen to de-humanise the members of religions the authors did not like. For instance, in one of the first chapters, the journalists described their visit to the Church of Scientology in Milan. The female Scientologist who welcomed them was described as having “alligator-like” eyes coupled with “horse-like” teeth.

Mattarella calls for constructive dialogue on human rights with China

President raises issue after meeting Chinese head of State

(ANSA) - Rome, March 22 - Italian President Sergio Mattarella raised the issue of human rights in a statement he made alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping after the two heads of State met in Rome on Friday. "In the light of Italy's mandate on the UN Human Rights Council, I would like to hope that constructive dialogue can continue on such important issues at the session of the EU-China dialogue on human rights that will take place in Brussels following the one last July in Beijing," Mattarella said.

The New Bloody Silk Road

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.

No Agreement with China May Ignore Human Rights

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.

U.S., China Clash on Human Rights Report

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.”

Freedom of the Press

“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as the truth is of systems of thought" – John Rawls

The lecture on the freedom of the press held a few years ago (here the transcript is published), intended and intends to underline the function of debunking cthat the "good" press (so it has been indicated) should do, or rather, must do. This intention of truth accompanies that freedom as its constitutive element which is often – if not very often – betrayed. The current experience of the "worst" journalistic communication is that of television programs of information or analysis which, with reference to belief or religious minorities, often betray the truth twice, given that they present themselves as a journalistic inquiry or article of debunking.

Hatred and religious intolerance: sign of the times or desired effects?

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".

The Concept of Spiritual Security and The Rights of Religious Minorities

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.

Presentation of the Final Acts of the convention "Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe, an arduous journey" and launch of the project "Right to Truth"

Monday, February 4, 2019, in the beautiful setting of the "Hall of Feasts" of the eighteenth-century "Palazzo Bastogi" of Florence, seat of the Regional Council of Tuscany, was held the event of presentation of the prestigious volume of the Final Acts of the FOB (European Federation for Freedom of Belief) convention "Law and Freedom of Belief, an arduous journey”.

Dozens of Bitter Winter Reporters Arrested

Accused of espionage and subversion, at least 45 contributors are in custody; the reporter who filmed a secret camp in Xinjiang “disappeared” after the arrest. In August 2018, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities designated Bitter Winter a “foreign hostile website” for publishing secret documents and news reports about the CCP’s suppression of religious beliefs and human rights violations. The authorities have retaliated by launching repeated attempts to hack the website, and by targeting reporters and contributors.

70 years of the Universal Declaration, we don't give up

On 8th December 2018 the conference "Spiritual Human Rights 2018" organised and hosted by Soteria International, associate member of FOB, was held to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Alessandro Amicarelli, FOB's chairman of the board of directors, delivered the following presentation "70 years of the Universal Declaration, we don't give up".

NGOs Express Serious Concerns About Rights of Defense Violations in Russian Scientology Case

Scientologists are in jail in Saint Petersburg for the sole fact of practicing their faith, which Russian authorities regard as “extremist,” a charge also used against other groups. We have followed with great concern news published in the Russian media about serious irregularities in the case of Scientologist Ivan Matsitsky, who has been in jail in the last seventeen months.

Violated the Rights of Defense of Scientologists in Russia

We receive and publish the following two articles regarding Russia's authorities violations of the Rights of Defense of two Scientologists in Russia. Based on these informations FOB together with other NGOs has signed a paper expressing concerns about Rights of Defense violations in Russian Scientology Case.


November 18, Sunday, by Dmitry Marakulin

KOMMERSANT

China's camps for Uyghurs exposed

Brave and fearless reporters enter the dreaded "transformation through education" camp for Muslim Uyghurs in Huocheng county, China. While China tries to defend the indefensible claiming that the transformation through education camps are benign “schools,” one of our reporters secretly visited the new large camp in Yining, Xinjiang, and proved it is undoubtedly a jail.

Judgement Day for China in Geneva

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.

Final Acts of FOB Convention "Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe, an arduous journey" released

Pacini Publishing House has released the edited book of the Acts of the Convention "Law and Freedom of Belief in Europe, an arduous journey", organised by FOB in Florence on 18-19 January 2018. The Acts (608 pages, hardcover) consist of 27 contributions from different perspectives ranging from philosophy to law, from sociology to religious studies.

Open letter to the Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, professor Giuseppe Conte

Esquire professor Giuseppe Conte,

Our Federation is at work on the entire European region to protect and promote the individuals’ freedom to believe and not believe, a right which is granted in Italy firstly by the Constitution, in other nations by the respective statutes and international treaties, as well as by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 1948.