FOREF Europe promoting FoRB rights at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2016

Defending Freedom of Religion and Belief as a Matter of Principle


Vienna & Warsaw, 11.10.2016 (FOREF) – Ever since 2003, FOREF Europe has regularly represented civil society at the OSCE ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in Warsaw. In this report we share points made by the introductory speakers at the working session on freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) at the HDIM (1), and discuss our intervention on Hungary’s controversial church law (2), the phenomena of government sponsored NGOs such as FECRIS (3), and the need of defending fundamental freedoms including FoRB as a matter of principle (4).

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world’s largest regional security organization. With 57 participating states in North America, Europe and Asia some refer to the OSCE as “the little UN”.

The beginning of the OSCE traces back to the Helsinki Final Act (1975) and the subsequent series of conferences known as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). The latter served as an important multilateral forum for dialogue between East and West during the Cold War and responded to new challenges arising in the post-Cold War period with the break-up of former Yugoslavia and the subsequent conflicts. Evolving beyond its original role the CSCE was renamed as the OSCE in 1994.

The OSCE serves as a forum for political dialogue that addresses security issues through (i) the politico-military, (ii) the economic and environmental, and (iii) the human dimensions, on the basis of political commitments among the participating States. The “human dimension” encompasses the advancement of human rights and fundamental freedoms, support for holding transparent and democratic elections, ensuring the rule of law and the protection of national minorities and the promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination.

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New documentary exposes financial exploitation of parents by anti-cult activists in Ukraine and Russia

“Protect your Dignity”… and Don’t Let FECRIS Mess with Your Family


Odessa/Brussels, 03.10.2016 (HRWF) – On 2 October, an investigation film entitled “Protect YourDignity“, which denounces the abuse of weakness and financial exploitation of parents by anti-sect activists in Ukraine and Russia, was launched on YouTube. Alexander Dvorkin, FECRIS vice-president, and Alexander Neveev, a psychologist, masterminded from Russia an operation against 19-year old girl in Odessa. The girl’s mother paid 12,000 dollars to “rescue” her from a job at an alternative newspaper.

This very artistic movie is a joint production of the public organization “Kavalyer” with the Brussels-based NGO “Human Rights Without Frontiers International (HRWF)” and the Unsolved Crimes Newspaper. The documentary film “Protect Your Dignity” is based on a true story.  Key events of the film started on September 2, 2015 in an ordinary Ukrainian family in Odessa.

The main storyline of the film is a family drama whose victim was a 19-year old girl named Yulia Yalovaya. The Russian-Ukrainian anti-cultists’ group manipulated her parents and destroyed the harmonious relations existing in this family to destroy an imaginary cult and the business reputation of scientist Oleg Maltsev, a Ukrainian follower of the Jewish psychiatrist Leopold Szondi(*) who founded the “International Schicksalsanalyse Community Research Institute”.

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“Sekte” kein existierender Rechtsbegriff, Kooperation mit Russisch-Orthodoxer Kirche trotz Laicité

FRANKREICH: FECRIS wird von der französischen Regierung finanziert, keine “NGO”

Stellungnahme von CAP am OSCE ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warschau

Übersetzung von FOREF Europa


Paris/Warschau, 27.09.2016 (CAP) – Die Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers Pour la Liberté de Conscience (Koordination der Vereine und Individuen für die Gewissensfreiheit) wurde im Jahr 2000 ins Leben gerufen, um religiöse Minderheiten gegen Diskriminierung in Frankreich und Europa zu verteidigen. Die Coordination ist eine von den Vereinten Nationen anerkannte NGO.

Monsieur Valls, der amtierende Premierminister Frankreichs (siehe Bild oben), erklärte vor einigen Wochen in der französischen Nationalversammlung, dass kein Rechtsbegriff für das Wort “Sekte” (bzw. “Kult”) existiere.

Das Ministerium des französischen Premierministers finanziert dennoch zu 100% einen Verein namens FECRIS (European Federation of Research and Information Centers on Sectarianism), die vom Europarat und den Vereinten Nationen bereits als NGO anerkannt wurde. Laut seinen Statuten ist es das Ziel dieses Vereins, “Sekten bzw. Kulte oder Guru als eine Organisation oder ein Individuum, die Glaubenslehren und Verhaltenstechniken eigennützig missbrauchen” zu identifizieren.

Wie kann ein Premierminister in Frankreich erklären, dass es keinen Rechtsbegriff für Sekte bzw. Kult gibt, und gleichzeitig zu 100% eine NICHT-Regierungs-Organisation finanzieren, dessen Ziel im Aufdecken von Sekten oder Kulten besteht. Darüberhinaus erwähnen die Statuten von FECRIS, dass “die Arbeit des Vereins weder religiös noch politisch” ist.

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Internatinoal bureaucratization could be watering down the Idea of Human Rights

Does Multilateralism Benefit Human Rights?

A Comment by Aaron Rhodes


Vienna, 03.10.2016 (Providence) – It is virtually an article of faith that multilateral approaches are the morally superior way to address human rights problems. Unilateralism is a term of approbation that emerged as support for multilateralism became de rigueur. Promoting human rights unilaterally is associated with national chauvinism and cultural imperialism, something that even contradicts the idea of universal human rights. But deteriorating respect for human rights principles, in particular for fundamental civil and political rights, and the increasing bureaucratization of human rights compel us to question those assumptions.

International human rights standards are essential. They provide civil society groups and political activists at the national level with a framework to measure the performance of their governments, and to demand compliance with the overarching ideal of individual rights and freedoms. The over-emphasis on human rights multilateralism, despite its paltry results (not to mention the expanding range of human rights claims), has undermined faith in those standards and, indeed, faith in the idea of human rights itself.

Since the Second World War and the formation of the United Nations, the number of inter-governmental institutions has mushroomed to about 5,000, and promoting and working within multilateral institutions has become a growth industry promoted by a globalist elite.

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FOREF Europe expanding

HUNGARY: FOREF Europe launches Blog in Hungarian Language

Go to our Hungarian Blog Here


BUDAPEST/VIENNA, 24.09.2016 (FOREF) – The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe has now launched a blog in Hungarian language. “We hope to change the hostile environment towards religious minorities that currently exists in Hungary. Our first priority will be the promotion of the European standard for fundamental freedom rights in general and freedom of religion and belief in particular”, the Executive Director and Co-founder of FOREF Europe, Peter Zoehrer, says. 

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Statement of FOREF Europe at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2016

HUNGARY: Two years after ruling by ECtHR Church Law Remains Unaltered

FOREF Europe intervenes for the 3rd time at the OSCE

Read Hungarian Version Here

Viktor Orban

BUDAPEST/WARSAW, 24.09.2016 (FOREF) – The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe prepared following intervention for the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting and will present it on 27 September 2016 in Warsaw, Poland, at the working session 12. This session will cover issues of fundamental freedoms focusing on freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) in the OSCE region. (See also our article from September 2014 here.)

FOREF’s Intervention on Hungary’s Religion Law 2014: New Religion Law at Variance with OSCE Standards and the European Convention on Human Rights

FOREF’s Intervention on Hungary’s Religion Law 2015: Amended Church Law Remains at Variance with OSCE Standards and the European Convention on Human Rights

Recommendations (September 2016):

The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe (FOREF) calls upon the Government of Hungary

(1) to introduce legislation to Parliament that will amend Hungary’s law on the legal status of churches in a way that harmonizes with Helsinki standards, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the ruling of the ECtHR in Magyar Keresztény Mennonita Egyház and others v. Hungary.

(2) To restore the legal status of churches stripped of legal personality in 2011 through a procedure ruled unconstitutional by Hungary’s Constitutional Court and found in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights by the European Court of Human Rights.

Hungary ignores ruling of the European Court of Human Rights

In 2011 Hungary enacted a new law on the legal status of churches (Act CCVI of 2011). The law stripped approximately 200 religious communities of legal personality, and reduced the number of legally recognized churches in Hungary to 14. In February 2012, responding to international pressure, Parliament expanded the number of recognized churches to 31. In February 2013, Hungary’s Constitutional Court ruled the deregistration of recognized churches had been unconstitutional. Responding to the Court’s decision, Parliament amended the constitution in March 2013. In June and September 2013, Parliament amended Act CCVI to create a two-tiered classification consisting of “religious communities” and “incorporated churches.” In September 2013, Parliament also amended the constitution explicitly to grant Parliament the authority to select religious communities for “cooperation” with the state in the service of “public interest activities.” In April 2014 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in Magyar Keresztény Mennonita Egyház and others v. Hungary that Hungary had violated articles 9 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), a judgment which became final in September 2014.

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On September 7, 1974, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was passed, declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims

PAKISTAN: 42 Years of Systematic Discrimination of Ahmadis by State Actors

Statement by the International Human Rights Committee



Islamabad/Pakistan, 08.09.2016 (AHRC) – The 7th September is one of the darkest days in the history of Pakistan when religion was firmly inducted to be the basis of the state affairs. This laid the foundation of unprecedented discrimination, abhorrence and violence against other religions, other sects or other interpretations of religion that did not conform the religious interpretations of the perpetrators of this change.

42 years ago, in 1974, on this day the Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was passed whereby the Ahmadis, the followers of Ahmadi sect, were declared to be non-Muslims in Pakistan. By virtue of the amendment the State has been given arbitrary powers to determine who is a Muslim and who is not. Instead of providing the right of freedom of religion and faith to its citizens, this was a systematic and conscious design to curb human rights and freedom of religious beliefs.

As a result of this change the influence of fundamentalist forces to run the state affairs and how people should follow their beliefs reached to unprecedented levels. The zeal and the fervour with which Youm-e-Khatam e Nabuwat (The Day of Finality of Prophet hood), marked on September 7, is celebrated is a manifestation of the fundamentalist mind-set so prevalent in the country.

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