Religious Freedom – Complaint against French MP Rudy Salles, Rapporteur at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
VIENNA, March 9, 2014 — The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe filed a complaint against French MP Rudy Salles, Rapporteur on a motion “The protection of minors against excesses of sects” at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The complaint has been sent to Secretary General of the PACE Wojciech Sawicki, as well as to the Chairman and members of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the PACE.
- The code of conduct for rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly rules that rapporteurs should respect a principle of neutrality, impartiality and objectivity.
- Rudy Salles, a pioneer of the anti-cult fight in France, has violated the code of conduct for rapporteurs as there is evidence that he clearly did have prior personal interests and accepted instructions from and/or worked in collusion with the former President of the MIVILUDES (French “anti-cult” lobby) and member of the French National Assembly, Mr. Fenech.
- MIVILUDES, as explained by the organisation’s Secretary General, Herve Machi, aims at achieving “European harmonization” for the collective fight against “sects” or “cults” via projecting a threat of “minors”. This reveals the motive behind instigating a resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The desired outcome is a fully sanctioned implementation of a European observatory on “sectarian deviances”.
- FOREF Europe recommends the Council of Europe to review the background of Mr. Salles’ motion, to collect detailed information on MIVILUDES and to conduct an impartial investigation into this matter in order to consider withdrawing Mr. Rudy Salles’ mandate on this topic.
To Mr Wojciech Sawicki
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Palais de l’Europe
Avenue de l’Europe
I would like to draw your attention to the following facts, regarding a report under preparation in the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, “The Protection of Minors Against Sectarian Influence”, and his rapporteur Mr Rudy Salles. It appears to me that these facts are serious enough to bring to your attention and that of the members of the Committee.
The code of conduct for rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly (resolution 1799), rules that rapporteurs should respect (1.1) a principle of neutrality, impartiality and objectivity, including in particular:
1.1.1. undertaking not to have any economic, commercial, financial or other interests, on a professional, personal or family level, connected with the subject of the report, and obligation to declare any relevant interests;
1.1.2. undertaking not to seek or accept instructions from any government or governmental or non-governmental organisation, or pressure group or individual;
1.1.3. undertaking not to accept any reward, honorary distinction, decoration, favour, substantial gift or remuneration from a government or governmental or non-governmental organisation, a pressure group or an individual in connection with activities carried out in the exercise of their duties;
1.1.4. undertaking to refrain from any act which may cast doubt on their neutrality;
The following information indicates that Mr. Rudy Salles has breached articles 1.1.1, 1.1.2 and 1.1.4 in the course of his duties as rapporteur for the report on “protection of minors against sectarian influence”. It shows that he has not only been strongly influenced by both a government department and NGOs anti-pathetic towards religions (and in particular minority religions) but that he has himself been a long-term supporter of such a position. This political and personal interest he did not declare, as he should have, according to the established code of a rapporteur.
Mr Salles was appointed as rapporteur to draft a report on “protection of minors against sectarian influence” on 7th September 2011.
This issue has been strongly lobbied for by French “anti-cult” groups for many years. It is also a position that has been strongly criticized internationally by both governments and human rights organisations. Mr. Salles is a long-time associate of Mr. Georges Fenech, member of the French National Assembly and former head of the Miviludes, a French government agency in charge of fighting against what they term “sects”. When his appointment to the position of rapporteur occurred, Mr. Salles made a joint statement with Mr. Fenech in a French newspaper (Nice Matin, November 22, 2011), announcing the appointment and claiming that the purpose of that nomination was to create a European observatory on “sects”, a sort of European Miviludes.