Religious Freedom in the Russian Federation

The Russian Federation and Religious Freedom in the Spotlight- Side Session at the United Nations Geneva

A panel of human rights and freedom of religion experts, as well as the leader of Hinduism in Russia have been invited by a French NGO – CAP LC ( at the United Nations Office in Geneva during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session on Russia to address the alarming and shocking situation of religious minorities in the Russian Federation. Especially during the last 3 years not only minorities, but also large mainstream religions have been banned from public activities, such as the Hinduism Community – despite more than 20 years of perfect integration. But also Jehovah Witnesses, the Church of Jesus-Christ of Later Day Saints and many others.

Listen to the exposition of the hidden factor behind the “bad religion concept” and the dehumanizing activities of so called “anti-sect offices”, that are generously state funded. This is not only the case  in Russia but also in most of Europe.

List of Speakers:

  • Mr. Thierry Valle – President CAP LC
  • Mr. Peter Zoehrer – Director General of FOREF – Forum for Religious Freedom in Europe
  • Ms. Patricia Duval – Human Rights Attorney
  • Ms Olga Sibireva – Religion expert SOVA Center – Center for Information and Analysis
  • Shri Prakash Ji – Leader of Induism in Russia, President of the Centre for Conservation of the Indian Culture
  • M. Prasun Prakash – Director of Public Affairs – the Centre for Conservation of the Indian Culture

Link with pictures (Copyright CAP LC):

Co-organized: by CAP Liberté de conscience, SOVA, FOREF, Shri Prakash Dham
For more information:
Images and sound: Michel Reymond, @GenevaUPTV

Posted in Alexander Dvorkin, Anti-Cult Movement, Christians, EU Special Envoy on FoRB, European Intergroup on FoRB & RT, FECRIS, FoRB Violations, FOREF Europe, German Müller, GSK, Hate Speech, Jehovah's Witnesses, Miviludes, OSCE, Putin, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Religious Intolerance, religious persecution, Russia, Sects, Tom Sackville, UN, UNHRC, United Nations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bitter Winter: Daily News Online of Religion in China

On May 14, 2018, a new online news magazine has been launched at the International Book Fair of Torino, in Italy, Bitter Winter. The name refers both to the difficult situation of religious liberty in China and to a theme in classical Chinese painting.

The launch of Bitter Winter came at the end of FIRMA-Faiths in Tune, a five-day festival of religions and music that ran parallel with the Book Fair. At the Book Fair, two FIRMA awards were presented by an international jury, one to President Daisaku Ikeda of Soka Gakkai for his lifelong commitment to religious dialogue, and one to The Church of Almighty God, a Chinese new religious movement, for its resistance to religious persecution in China. Authorities, journalists, and a significant public attended both the festival, where The Church of Almighty God’s performers were among the most admired groups, and the award ceremony.

“This has a lot to do, commented Bitter Winter’s editor-in-chief, Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne, with our new magazine. I am a scholar of new religious movements. They are often the most persecuted groups in China and The Church of Almighty God is now the most persecuted of them all, replacing Falun Gong as the religious minority most severely targeted by the regime. While other worthy publications on China ignore the new religious movements, we will cover them together with mainline religions.”

Bitter Winter is in English, but Chinese and Korean editions will be online soon. Assistant editors of Bitter Winter are Willy Fautré, the veteran and highly respected Belgian human rights and religious liberty activist who leads Human Rights Without Frontiers in Brussels, and Rosita Šorytė, president of the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees and former chairperson of the European Union Working Group on Humanitarian Aid. Italian journalist Marco Respinti serves as technical editor.

“What is also new in Bitter Winter, added Introvigne, is that we were able to establish a network sending news and pictures directly from China. To these unpublished news, we add a digest taken from international and Chinese media.”

Bitter Winter also publishes articles and interviews. In the first issue, the magazine publishes an interview with Father Bernardo Cervellera, the leading Catholic expert of China. He explains that the agreement between Holy See and China, much rumored about in the last months, is not being signed due by resistances within the Chinese regime. He also believes that claims that the agreement would be signed soon were spread by factions within both the Vatican and the Chinese Communist establishment favorable to it, while other factions are hostile.


Posted in Countries, Human Rights, Persecution of Religious Groups, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, religious persecution, Tibet, Torture | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

REPORT: Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan

Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan Face an Existential Threat: New Report


The persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan has worsened in the last several years, as Ahmadis are “violently targeted, intimidated, and harassed at all levels of society.

Impunity and incitement have created a climate of religious hysteria in which targeted communities, both Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis are losing their lives with shocking increased frequency,” according to a report published by the International Human Rights Committee and the Asian Human Rights Commission, in partnership with the Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe (FOREF) and Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

A noose is tightening around the Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, who face discriminatory legislation and lethal mob violence encouraged by political and governmental authorities,” according to Dr Aaron Rhodes, President of FOREF.

The 100-page document, which is based on interviews with hundreds of victims, experts, and journalists, details the legal discrimination faced by the Ahmadi community, relevant developments in international human rights, and social and political tendencies.

It further documents crimes, state negligence, and complicity; violations of internationally guaranteed rights and freedoms; prejudice and social exclusion; discrimination faced by women; discrimination in education; and obstacles faced by Ahmadis when professing their faith.

For further information:
Forum for Religious Freedom Europe:

Posted in Ahmadiyya, blasphemy laws, FoRB Violations, FOREF Europe, Hate Speech, Human Rights, Islam, Islamism, mosque, pakistan, Persecution of Religious Groups, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Religious Intolerance, religious persecution, Shariah | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Letter by FOREF Europe

PAKISTAN: Threats against Ahmadiyya Community on the Rise

Open letter to Honorable Khawaja Muhammad Asif,
Foreign Minister of Pakistan

Bildergebnis für Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan

Vienna/Islamabad, 03.02.2018 (FOREF) – With great concern FOREF Europe has been observing the increasing rate of violations against fundamental freedoms in Pakistan. Threats against religious freedom have sparked accross the country. The Ahmadiyya community is one among several religious minorities that are seriously affected by this trend. Today, FOREF Europe sent an open letter to the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan and to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).


Dear Honorable Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif,

I am writing on behalf of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe, an independent, secular human rights organization based in Vienna, Austria.

We are deeply concerned about escalating threats to the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan. There can be no doubt that such threats are becoming more serious, making it increasingly dangerous and difficult for members of that community to profess their faith.

Especially over the past year, numerous religious leaders in your country have openly called for violence against Ahmadis, indeed, calling for their murder by decapitation.

Death threats against Ahmadis have become commonplace. These are some of the incidents that have alarmed our organization, and the international community:

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Posted in Ahmadiyya, blasphemy laws, FoRB Violations, pakistan, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Religious Intolerance, Shariah, Torture, UN, UNHRC, United Nations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Joint Statement: Stop FoRB violations against minority religion in China and East Asia!

NGOs Condemn Persecution against the Church of Almighty God

Joint Statement


Thousands of members of the Church of Almighty God (CAG) have been incarcerated in China, following a further crackdown on unauthorized religious organizations. According to the rough statistics, more than 300,000 members of CAG were incarcerated and detained in China from the beginning of the persecutions in the 1990s to 2017. Many have been tortured and at least 30 died in custody in suspicious circumstances, according to a report just released by CAG and published by several human rights organizations internationally (see e.g. here).

In the last few days, we have seen unprecedented media attacks against CAG published simultaneously in Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, which seem to be an answer to the publication of this report.

The Church of Almighty God (CAG) is a new religious movement founded in China in 1991. It teaches that Jesus has returned to the Earth and incarnated as the Almighty God in a living person and is with us today. It also claims that prophecies in the Bible predict the fall of the Chinese Communist regime in China, although it does not advocate any form of armed rebellion.

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Posted in China, FoRB Violations, Kidnapping, Religious Discrimination, Religious Intolerance, religious persecution, Torture | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

FoRB in Pakistan: Announcement of upcoming UPR Side Event in Geneva

UPR Side Event: The Denial of Religious Freedom in Pakistan

pakistan graveyard

Members of the Ahmadi Muslim community hold the names of victims as they stand over their graves in Chenab Nagar, in Punjab’s Chiniot District, on May 29, 2010. © 2010 Reuters

DATE and TIME: Monday 13 November 2017: 12.30pm-2.00pm

VENUE: Room XXIII, Palais de Nations, United Nations, Geneva

The side event will reflect on the challenges facing religious communnities in Pakistan. The country’s draconian anti-Ahmadi laws and Blasphemy laws have been used by the state to persecute religious communities for more than 40 years. Thousands have been charged under these laws, with many hundreds murdered and many more are languishing in prison. The laws have fed the rise of extremism in Pakistan and also deny Ahmadi Muslims their fundamental democratic right to vote.

The international panel of experts will discuss these issues and highlight what steps can be taken by Pakistan, civil society and international actors to ensure Pakistan effectively implements the UPR recommendations and its wider human rights obligations. We invite you to join this timely discussion and we look forward to your participation. 

Presentations to be followed by Q&A


  • Sir Iftikhar Ayaz, Chairman International Human Rights Committe
  • Dr Aaron Rhodes, President of the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe
  • Mahmood Ahmad, General Secretary Ahmadiyya Muslim Lawyers Association USA
  • Baseer Naveed, Asian Human Rights Commission
  • Dr Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and Belief (Keynote Message)

Thierry Valle, President CAP Liberté de Conscience.

The event is supported by:

  • The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief
  •  Christian Solidarity Worldwide
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK
  • Forum for Religious Freedom Europe


  • CAP Liberté de Conscience
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK

For further information contact:



Posted in Ahmadiyya, FoRB Violations, pakistan, Persecution of Religious Groups, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, UN, UN Special Rapporteur, United Nations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Intervention at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Russian Federation’s illegal ban on the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Intervention by Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), in cooperation with the Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe (FOREF)

Warsaw, Thursday 14 September 2017

 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting:
Working Session 6: Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief


Human Rights Without Frontiers, along with the Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe, takes this opportunity to raise once again what is arguably the most flagrant assault on religious freedom to occur in the Euro-Atlantic region since the end of the Soviet Union and its satellite communist regimes in Eastern Europe – namely, the Russian Federation’s illegal ban on the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As we meet here today, Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are charged with membership in an “extremist” organization, are being prosecuted for no other crime than their religious faith.

The ban was confirmed by the Russian Supreme Court on the 20th of April 2017. The law makes it a crime for about 170,000 Russian citizens to practice their faith. The denomination has faced increasing persecution in Russia for decades.  Indeed, we have warned about the growing persecution of members of this group in Russia for 13 years.

Dennis Christensen, a Danish citizen, was arrested for attending a religious meeting of Jehovah’s Witness and was sentenced to a 2-month pretrial detention that has been extended until 23 November.  Russia is thus incarcerating a prisoner of conscience in this case.

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Posted in FoRB Violations, Jehovah's Witnesses, OSCE, Religious Discrimination, Religious Intolerance, Russia | Tagged , , | Leave a comment