Questions About FECRIS
By the European Coordination of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of Conscience
FOREF, 20.10.2014 – The “European Coordination of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of Conscience” has created a new leaflet informing about the French GONGO (Government Operated Non Government Organization) and anti-cult lobby FECRIS. It features first hand citations from the main activists of FECRIS, such as
and Jean-Pierre Bousquet.
BRUSSELS, October 2014 (European Coordination of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of Conscience) – If one found out that an NGO (non-government organisation) was targeting new or traditional religious groups, and if this NGO (FECRIS) was a federation of groups with similar aims, one would have every right to be surprised. The information presented in this document goes far beyond what you might imagine—and that’s probably what has allowed it to remain relatively unnoticed until now. We consider it important to bring this information to the attention of all those who are committed to true European democratic principles—the result of a long and sometimes painful history—of freedom and tolerance regarding religious beliefs.
See more at: Questions About FECRIS.
“Scientology Kirche Sankt Petersburg” gewinnt Gerichtsfall vor dem Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte
Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte bestätigt erneut die grundlegenden Rechte von russischen Scientologen
ST. PETERSBURG / STRAßBURG, 06.10.2014 (Scientology Kirche Deutschland e. V.) - Am 2. Oktober 2014 hat der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) eine Entscheidung (Az. 47191/06) gefällt, in welcher festgestellt wurde, dass die Weigerung der russischen Behörden die Scientology Kirche von Sankt Petersburg einzutragen, die Artikel 9 und 11 der Konvention zum Schutze der Menschenrechte und Grundfreiheiten verletzt.
HUNGARY: Deregistration of religious communities – A professor of Texas Lutheran University reacts to MEP György Hölvenyi’s comment
Published by Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)
(HRWF) – Following the publication of The Economist blog post “A slippery Magyar Slope” (25th September 2014) and MEP György Hölvényi’s comment about it in our Newsletter, we received a reaction of Prof. David Baer from the Texas Lutheran University that we share below with you:
David Baer (13.10.2014) – Mr. Holvenyi’s writes to defend a church law that the ECtHR has found to breach the European Convention and which the Hungarian government refuses to amend. He would thus have us believe that religious communities in Hungary enjoy religious freedom even as they are not protected by the rule of law.
Mr. Holvenyi urges that we stick to the facts. The fact is that in 2011 the government of Hungary retroactively “deregistered” religious communities already recognized as churches under Hungarian law. The fact is that in 2013 Hungary’s Constitutional Court found this deregistration procedure unconstitutional. The fact is that after 2013 the government of Hungary blatantly ignored the Court’s decision, refusing to treat unconstitutionally deregistered religious communities as legal churches. The fact is that in 2014 the European Court of Human Rights found that Hungary’s unconstitutional church law also violated the right of religious freedom and the European Convention. The fact is that the Hungarian government has still not, as of this day, acted to abide by the European Court’s decision.
HUNGARY: Response to the Erasmus blog post “A slippery Magyar slope”, September 25th 2014
Published by Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)
HRWF is hereby giving the floor to MEP György Holvenyi who sent us his position about a religious freedom issue in Hungary after we reproduced an article published in The Economist on 25th September. Our newsletter is open to further debates about the new registration process of churches.
Member of European Parliament György Holvenyi (10.10.2014) – The recent post of The Economist’s blog Erasmus on religious freedom in Central Europe (“A slippery Magyar slope” by B. C., September 25th 2014) makes several misleading statements and offers a rather personal interpretation of the existing legal regulations on churches in Hungary.
Basic aspects on the registration process of churches have not been detailed in your blog post. Firstly, all associations dealing with religious activities are registered solely by the courts in Hungary. A politically highly neutral system. These communities operate independetly from the state, acoording to their own principles of faith and rituals.
The blog post makes references on “incorporated churches” in Hungary. It is crucial to know that the category of “icorporated churches”, as you call it, does not affect religious freedom at all. It is simply about financial aspects such as state subsidies for churches running social activities for the common good of the society.
For Hungary, The Game is Up:
Ruling on Religion Law Forces Viktor Orbán’s Hand
By H. David Baer for FOREF Europe
BUDAPEST, 08.10.2014 (FOREF) – Last month the European Court of Human Rights declined to consider an appeal from the Hungarian government concerning the Court’s judgment on Hungary’s new religion law. Introduced in 2011 by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the so-called Act on “Freedom of Conscience and Religion” stripped the majority of Hungary’s religious communities of legal standing, forcing them to seek out recognition as “civil associations” in order to avoid having the state liquidate their assets. A few groups took their case to Strasbourg, where the European Court found that this retroactive “deregistration” violated the right of religious freedom and breached the European Convention.
With an end of all chance for appeal, the Court’s decision becomes final. That means the game is up for Viktor Orbán. Either his government abides by the Court’s decision, restoring the legal status of deregistered communities and compensating them for four years of financial damage; or his government ignores the Court, thereby demonstrating its disdain for European institutions and democratic values.
HUNGARY: New Religion Law at Variance with OSCE Standards and the European Convention on Human Rights
By FOREF Europe
BUDAPEST, 25.09.2014 (FOREF) – The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe prepared following intervention for the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting and will present it on 30 September 2014 in Warsaw/Poland at the working session 13: Tolerance and non-discrimination II/ Intolerance against Christians and members of other religions. (See also a recent comment “A slippery Magyar slope” by The Economist. For Hungarian translation of the statement see below.)
That the Government of Hungary, and specifically the Minister of Human Capacities, place back on the official registry of incorporated churches included in the appendix of Act CCVI (206) of 2011 those churches deregistered unconstitutionally and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by Parliament in 2011. Hungary should honor its international legal commitment to the European Convention and abide by the Court’s decision.
That Hungary should modify its church law so that legal recognition of churches is not determined by 2/3 vote of Parliament, something criticized in both the European Court and the Hungarian Constitutional Court.
That participating States to assist Hungary to harmonize its laws in accordance with the Helsinki standards and international human rights law.
The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF) is an independent, secular, civil society formation dedicated to defending the freedom of religion in accordance with international law. We wish to express our deep concern about policies of the government of Hungary that violate Human Dimension commitments undertaken by the participating States in the Helsinki Final Act and in the Madrid, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Maastricht documents. These policies have resulted in arbitrary discrimination against religious communities, and have given the state illegal and inappropriate power to interfere in religious life.
JAPAN: Husband and wife abducted and confined for the purpose of forced religious de-conversion
By Human Rights Without Frontiers
TOKYO, 11.09.2014 (HRWF) – On July 26th, 2014, two members of the Unification Church in Japan, Mr. and Mrs. S., both in their 40’s, were kidnapped by their respective relatives under the direction of an Evangelical Minister, Mamoru Takawaza, leaving their two children behind.
This is an additional case of abduction of religious minorities’ followers for the purpose of forced de-conversion in Japan. Families influenced by prejudice have resorted to Evangelical ministers over the last thirty years for advice on abducting and confining their over-age children to have them “persuaded” under constraint to recant their minority faith.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee during its sixth periodic review of Japan expressed concern, in its Concluding Observations released on 23rd July 2014, “at reports of abductions and forced confinement of converts to new religious movements by members of their families in an effort to de-convert them.” The Committee recommended that Japan “should take effective measures to guarantee the right of every person not to be subject to coercion which would impair his or her freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief” pursuant to Article 18.2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In spite of the clear recommendation made by the Committee, the Japanese police did not put an end immediately to Mr. and Mrs. S.’s confinement when they were asked to take action to rescue them.