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.
FECRIS stands for European Federation of Centers of Research and Information on Cults and Sects, is based in France (Marseille). It is funded handsomely by the French government, but operates throughout Europe and also in various non-European nations. But do not be fooled, the majority of non-French groups and associations that have joined FECRIS are very small groups, sometimes consisting of one or two individuals sometimes existing only on paper.
Rosita Šorytė — In Central Asian countries, courts have penalized the Jehovah’s Witnesses for allegedly damaging the mental health of their victims and propagating “religious extremism.” These accusations did not originate in Central Asia but were imported there from Russia. After examining some specific court cases, the paper discusses three main Russian accusations against Jehovah’s Witnesses (...)
After two years of online activities due to COVID-related problems, finally OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was able to organize again a in-person yearly Human Dimension Meeting in Warsaw held from September 26 to October 7. One of the issues discussed was the anti-cult activities by FECRIS and its Russian's accomplices.
Why dozens of NGOs and individuals ask that FECRIS' Consultative Status with the United Nations ECOSOC be revoked
The following is an appeal promoted by Bitter Winter, an online magazine on religious liberty and human rights published by CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions. OB, signatory of the appeal, over the years has published a number of articles on FECRIS and its role in spreading anti-cult ideology.
Far from endorsing any political stance on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, aware of the old adage that warns that "between the two quarrels there is always a third who enjoys", we publish this article taken from The European Times by Jan Leonid Bornstein, which illustrates the role of the anti-cult movement in fomenting intolerance and division between religions, cultures and peoples.
By Willy Fautré — On 22 February, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued two judgments in favor of 14 Jehovah’s Witnesses and found that Russia violated their fundamental rights to freedom of religion. Russia has been ordered to pay a total of over 99,000 euros ($112,323 U.S.) in compensation for violations that included mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement officials between 2010 and 2012.
by Steno Sari — Religious freedom means the possibility of believing in what one likes, as well as not believing, and often includes the fight against dogmatism, prejudice and intolerance. Throughout history, it has cost an incalculable number of lives burnt in bloody religious conflicts. Safeguarding this freedom concerns the essence of human dignity and can rightly be considered the litmus test for the respect of all other fundamental rights and freedoms, since it is their synthesis and keystone.
by Victoria Arnold — Russia has used increasingly strict legislation on "foreign agents" (a term which has connotations of spying) and "undesirable organisations" to curtail, complicate, or prohibit the activities of organisations which promote human rights and monitor their violation, including that of freedom of religion and belief. This "indirectly affects the people human rights defenders stand up for", says Aleksandr Verkhovsky of the SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis (branded a "foreign agent").
European Court of Human Rights Again Upholds Religious Freedom, Handing Down Victory for the Church of Scientology
by STAND League — In a unanimous December 14, 2021 decision, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) again ruled that the Russian government has violated the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression of Scientologists as guaranteed in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
How far can the hatred generated by intolerance towards religious minorities go? The article of which we repropose here below some excerpts provides an eloquent answer. In this case to pay the costs of the murderous hatred of ignorant Muslim crowds are faithful Hindus and Christians, i.e. the faithful of two of the major religions on Earth, in the Islamic world, however, they are often in the minority.
On November 30 we reported on the proceedings against the Kirhisi Jehovah's Witnesses, guilty of using publications that, according to the General Prosecutor's Office, are "extremist", in accordance with the intolerant and anti-cult line of neighboring Russia. Today we are pleased to announce that the District Court of Pervomayskiy has rejected the request of the Prosecutor's Office, also thanks to an expert opinion written by Massimo Introvigne and Rosita Šorytė, respectively director and deputy director of Bitter Winter.
Will Kyrgyzstan Abide by the Rule of Law or Merely Follow in the Footsteps of Russia by Restricting Religious Freedom? - The test case of the Publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In Kyrgyzstan, the Pervomayskiy District Court is expected to rule on Thursday 2 December on a claim from the General Prosecutor’s office to ban 13 publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses as “extremist,” with the apparent aim of following in Russia’s footsteps and banning the Witnesses simply for their peaceful Christian worship.
Press Release by the Registrar of the Court — The applicants are the Centre of Societies for Krishna Consciousness, a religious organisation under Russian law based in Moscow, and a Russian national Mikhail Aleksandrovich Frolov. The case concerns the applicants’ attempts to challenge hostile descriptions of the Krishna movement and the refusal of permission to hold public religious events promoting the teachings of Vaishnavism.
Once again the European Court stigmatize and condemns the intolerant behavior of Russia towards the new religious movements present on Russian territory disliked by the ruling Orthodox class and the Russian anti-cultists headed by Alexander Dvorkin, vice-president of FECRIS and director of the Saint Irenaeus of Lyons Centre for Religious Studies, a Russian association affiliated to FECRIS. We publish below an article by HRWF about the ruling of the European Court.
October 28, 2021 will be remembered as another day when David defeated Goliath. The Supreme Court of Russia has ruled that Jehovah's Witnesses who pray in groups do not commit a crime and therefore cannot be prosecuted. The sentence opens a breach in art. 282.2 of the controversial Yarovaya law. The hope is that now all Jehovah's Witnesses detained in Russian prisons for praying or reading the Bible as a group will be released as soon as possible.