Russia

USCIRF Releases New Report about Global Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Washington, DC, November 10, 2020 – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report: “The Global Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses” Issue Update. This update describes official discrimination against Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world, with a particular focus on countries where members have been imprisoned for their beliefs.

700 days in detention

A 66-year-old Jehovah's Witness has already been given nearly two years in pre-trial detention. From the mists of this controversial judicial case now comes to light an outrageous detail that confirms the worst hypotheses feared by the defenders of religious freedom: the Vice President of the French FECRIS (Fédération Européenne des Centres de Recherche et d'Information sur le Sectarisme, i.e.

Why the U.N. is making a mockery of human rights

by Aaron Rhodes — China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia and Uzbekistan – all notorious for abusing human rights – were among the 14 states elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Oct. 13, bringing the proportion of nondemocratic states on the world’s top human rights-promoting body to 60%. Cuba received 170 votes, or 88%, in the secret-ballot General Assembly vote.

But the Human Rights Council’s problem isn’t simply the presence of bad actors. The real issue is the intrinsic moral relativism embedded in any all-inclusive, multilateral human-rights system.

The dangers of religious intolerance

by Steno Sari — Under certain circumstances, being intolerant is not so out of place. Murder, theft, rape, child abuse and kidnapping are all considered intolerable in most societies, and with reason. However, in the course of the centuries in Christianity, deplorable forms of intolerance towards heretics and schismatics have been justified: real persecutions in no way justifiable.

Fifty International Scholars Call for an End of the Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

Torino, Italy (l.c.) — Fifty leading international scholars of religion have signed an appeal calling for the immediate end of the persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, a country where members of the religious organization are routinely arrested and sentenced to terms in jail, and where all activities of their congregation are forbidden.

“Anti-extremism” legislation and religious freedom in the Russian Federation. The case of Jehovah's Witnesses

by Germana Carobene — associate professor of Ecclesiastical and Canon Law at the University of Naples "Federico II", Department of Political Sciences; councillor of FOB. — The application of "anti-extremism" legislation to minority religious groups in the Russian Federation has led to a progressive institutional tightening of the persecution and heavy discrimination, especially against Jehovah's Witnesses.

The New Gnomes of Zurich

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 Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia: An International Human Rights Concern

On July 13, 2020, armed officers raided 110 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Voronezh Region. This was the largest number of coordinated raids on Jehovah’s Witnesses in modern Russia. Unfortunately, this action marks an escalation in the persecution of the Witness community following the April 20, 2017, ban imposed by the Russian Supreme Court on the Witnesses’ national organization and its 395 regional divisions on grounds of “extremism.”

Also Europe in the Special Watch List?

«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”.

Arrests and torture of Jehovah’s Witnesses: Russia challenges Europe

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".

Russia: Abnormal penalties imposed on Jehovah's Witnesses

On March 3, 2020, Mr. Artëm Gerasimov, a member of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, was sentenced by the Yalta Court (Crimea) to a penalty of 400,000 rubles (about € 5,300) on charges of practicing his religion, a crime sanctioned by the wretched Yarovaya law which labels Witnesses and other religious minorities disliked by the dominant Orthodox religion as "extremist". Gerasimov did not lose heart and appealed, but on June 4, 2020, the Crimean high court sentenced him to six years in prison, again on the basis of being a "dangerous extremist".

America and the Worldwide Religious Freedom

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».

Is Religious Freedom ever possible in the Russian Federation?

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.

Radical Christian organisations threaten Hindu Ashram in Russia, organisation reaches out to PM Modi for help

Hindu Ashram in Russia seeks help of Modi government as Christian fundamentalists attack their operations.

A Hindu Ashram in Russia, ‘Shri Prakash Dham’, is under threat from radical Christian organisations, claims Prasun Prakash, Director, Public Affairs, Centre for Conservation of Indian Culture, Shri Prakash Dham. Shri Prakash Dham has presence in Russia, Eurasia, Europe and the UK.

Another Minority Religion Under Threat in Russia: Who Is Afraid of Sri Prakash?

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.

Jehovah’s Witness Dennis Christensen sentenced to prison for his belief

Orel Oblast court upholds sentence of Dennis Christensen

Orlovskie Novosti (23.05.2019) – On 23 May, the Orel oblast court left in force the sentence of the Zheleznodorozhny district court with respect to Danish citizen Dennis Christensen, who was found guilty of extremism and sentenced to six years imprisonment, an Orlovskie Novosti correspondent reports.

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.