RUSSIA: Press Release by FOREF and HRWF

Jehovah’s Witnesses Banned in Russia

Human Rights Organizations appeal to Russia’s Supreme Court and Presidential Administration.

VIENNA/BRUSSELS, 10. 5. 2017 (FOREF – Europe/HRWF) – The Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe (FOREF) and Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) urge the Supreme Court of Russia to overturn its 20 April 2017 decision to ban the Jehovah’s Witnesses from the country and seize their assets. FOREF and HRWF also call on President Putin and his administration to resort to a “transparent and frank” dialogue to promote better understanding of the nature of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as proposed by the religious group

“The allegation that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are an extremist group is transparently false, and the ban should be overturned,” argues Dr. Aaron Rhodes, President of FOREF. “The decision not only violates basic human rights obligations, but also puts all Russian citizens at further risk of arbitrary legal judgments. It makes a mockery of their legal system and humiliates Russia on the world stage” he added.

United Nations monitors and other experts agree that neither the doctrines nor the conduct of the Jehovah’s Witnesses can be called “extremist” with any credibility whatsoever. On the contrary, the group advocates respect for political and governmental authorities, and keeping clear of political matters.

There are about 170,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Russian Federation, who worship in almost 400 branches. The Russian Justice Ministry alleged that the group is a “threat to the rights of citizens, public order and public security.” But the Jehovah’s Witnesses are known as a denomination that rejects violence.

Indeed, the weakness of the General Prosecutor’s case against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a group that has long faced persecution in Russia, is obvious to any independent observer. Consisting of vague allegations, it offers no proof, no motivation, and leaves an impression that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are being denied their internationally-guaranteed rights, and their rights under Article 28 of the Russian Federal Constitution, simply for their doctrinal differences with the Russian Orthodox Church.

If the Supreme Court ruling stands, participation in the activities of the group will be punishable by a fine of up to 600,000 rubles (over US$10,600) and a prison term of up to ten years.

For more information and/or interviews:

Peter Zoehrer (Executive Director, FOREF) +43 664-523-8794
Aaron Rhodes (President, FOREF) +49-170-323-8314
Email: foref.office@gmail.com
Blog: foref-europe.org

Willy Fautré (Executive Director, HRWF)
Email: international.secretariat.brussels@hrwf.net
Website: http://www.hrwf.eu

Appeal in English:
2017-10-05 EN-Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia2 foref hrwf

Appeal in French:
2017-05-appeal-to-supreme-court-of-russia2-foref-hrwf-french

Appeal in German:
2017-05 Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia German DE. docx

Appeal in Italian:
FOREF-HRWF-Appello alla Corte Suprema russa

Appeal in Dutch:
2017-05 Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia DUTCH

Appeal in Czech:
2017-05 Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia CZECH

Appeal in Slovakian:
2017-12-05 SLOW-Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia2 foref hrwf

Appeal in Danish:
2017-05 Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia DANISH

Appeal in Romanian:
2017-10-RO-appeal-to-supreme-court-of-russia-romanian

Appeal in Croatian:
2017-09-05 CRO-Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia2 foref hrwf

Appeal in Russian:
2017-12-05 – RU-Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia2 foref hrwf

Appeal in Hungarian:
2017-12-05 HU-Appeal to Supreme Court of Russia2 foref hrwf_hun

Appeal in Albanian:
2017-10-ALB-appeal-to-supreme-court-of-russia

 

 

Posted in Council of Europe, Court Decisions, European Union, FoRB Violations, FOREF Europe, HRWF, Human Rights, Jehovah's Witnesses, Limitations of Religious Freedom, OSCE, Persecution of Religious Groups, Putin, Religious Discrimination, Religious Intolerance, religious persecution, Russia | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Stop crusade against Ahmadiyya community

Bildergebnis für ahmadiyya pakistan

Islamabad, 13.04.2017 (AHRC) – A new wave of persecution and killings of the Ahmadi sect has started after an Islamabad high court judge took a position on religious matters of individuals, particularly about free discussions on social media.

Judge Shaukat Siddiqui is generally known as a bigot and hate monger. Leading the movement for the release of Constable Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of former governor of Punjab province, Mr. Salman Taseer, the judge declared Qadri as ‘Ghazi’ (victorious for upholding the teachings of Islam).

In recent days, Judge Siddiqui is taking cases of alleged blasphemy and instructing the authorities to ban the accused persons’ accounts of Facebook, Twitter and Internet. The Judge’s interpretation of blasphemy amounts to any free discussion on Islam or its sacred personalities.

Unfortunately, the backlash of this focus on blasphemy is faced by the Ahmadiyya community, which ironically never challenges the ideas of other religions or sects of Islam.
Harassed, ostracized, and made outcastes, the “kafir” (infidel) Ahmadi community has been suffering incessantly at the hands of fundamentalist groups who vowed to wipe out all Ahmadis from Pakistan. Since 1974, when Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims, the country has witnessed a systematic cleansing, and a political, social, and economic ostracization of Ahmadis.

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Posted in Ahmadiyya, FoRB Violations, Human Rights, Islamism, pakistan, Persecuted Groups, Religious Intolerance | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Christian Solidarity Worldwide: “UN actively blocking civil society”

UN NGO COMMITTEE DENIES CSW UN ACCESS

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Press Release by CSW

New York/London, 06.01.2017 (CSW) – The United Nations (UN) Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) voted on 3 February to reject Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW’s) application for official UN accreditation, after deferring the application since 2009.

CSW applied in 2009 for consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), an official UN accreditation which would give CSW access to the key human rights advocacy platforms including the Human Rights Council and General Assembly.

In a highly questionable decision, the NGO committee voted 11– 4, with one abstention and three absent, to deny CSW’s application. The NGO Committee comprises 19 UN member states. It is tasked with considering applications for consultative status by NGOs and facilitating civil society access to the UN. States that voted against CSW’s application include China, Cuba and India. The UK Mission to the UN will be appealing the decision to the ECOSOC body that oversees the NGO Committee.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard call shooting an act of terrorism

6 dead, 2 arrested after shooting at Quebec City mosque

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Quebec, 29.01.2017 (CBC) – Quebec provincial police say six people are dead and eight were wounded after shots were fired inside a mosque on Sunday night during evening prayers. Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Christine Coulombe says the victims range in age from 35 to 70.  Some of the wounded are considered to be in critical condition.

Thirty-nine people escaped the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood without injuries, according to Coulombe.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said it was obvious that the shooting should be treated as an act of terrorism. “It’s an murderous act directed at a specific community,” he said at a press conference just after 1:30 a.m. “I think the majority of citizens, not just in Quebec but elsewhere, would describe it that way.” Earlier Couillard said that “Quebec categorically rejects this barbaric violence” and offered solidarity with the families of the victims.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the shooting, which he described as a “terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge,” in a statement. “Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country,” said Trudeau.

Attack on the Ground Floor

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Maintaining diversity is key to counter extremism, Open doors reports

Christians ‘excluded’ from Iraq’s reconstruction plans

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By World Watch Monitor

Baghdad, 27.01.2017 (WWM) – Christians are being excluded from the reconstruction plans for northern Iraq, further eroding the likelihood of their return once Islamic State has been militarily defeated there, an alliance of UK-based charities has warned.

Iraqi Christians firmly believe that Iraq is their spiritual homeland; their presence dates back at least to the 3rd Century. Before 2003, there were approximately 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, but estimates now range from 200,000 to 500,000. Approximately 70% of Iraq’s Christians are from the Chaldean Catholic tradition, while the remainder are Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Armenian and Protestant.

After the Allied invasion of Iraq, many Christians fled the Baghdad area for the north, where some towns (such as Qaraqosh) had been almost 95% Christian before 2003. It’s estimated that at the time Mosul was invaded by Islamic State in June 2014, only about 3,000 Christians were left from the 35,000 there in 2003.

Now the UK coalition of mainly Christian charities working in Iraq and Syria says it’s “clear” that leaders of religious minority communities are being excluded from the National Settlement plan being put together by Iraq and other regional powers and presented to the UN.

The 88-page report, Ensuring Equality, which brought together contributions from 16 NGOs, adds that it is vital that Christians and other minority populations have support for their political and security concerns if they are to feel reassured enough to return to Mosul or the surrounding Nineveh Plains region, rebuild their communities and undertake any reconciliation process.

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Posted in Christians, Countries, FoRB Violations, Human Rights, International Organizations, Iraq, Persecution of Religious Groups, Religious Discrimination, Religious Freedom, Religious Intolerance, UN | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

China aspires to global leadership, undermines fundamental human rights

China Sees Space on the High Moral Ground

By Aaron Rhodes

Bildergebnis für china davos

Davos, 19.01.2017 (Providence) – With Europe faltering and a new United States president attacking globalization and international organizations, and vowing to focus on national interests, leaders and experts are concerned about the threat of populism to what they still believe is the liberal democratic world order.

In this situation, China has taken center stage. At Davos on January 17, President Xi Jinping spoke of his government’s determination to play a responsible role in defending and contributing to multilateral efforts to “secure peace and reduce poverty.” Xi was applauded for opposing protectionism. All states, he intoned, should “view their own interests in a broader context,” and “refrain from pursuing their own interests at the expense of others.”

The contradiction between these positions and China’s program of building military installations on disputed islands in the South China Sea, a serious challenge to the international rule of law, is obvious. But they belie a more complex, and even more malignant, perversion of the principles upon which United Nations human rights treaties and institutions were founded, and they reflect an effort to defend and legitimate practices the international human rights system was set up to end. China, where 60 million people were murdered in the process of establishing and maintaining communist rule, continues to abuse the fundamental human rights of its people, undermines international human rights institutions, and indeed subverts the very concept of innate, individual human rights. (…)

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Aaron Rhodes is President of the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe. He was Executive Director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights 1993-2007, and later a founder of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Freedom Rights Project, a human rights think tank.

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86 members of the country’s Muslim minority have been killed since 9 October, with 34,000 fleeing across the border to Bangladesh

UN human rights envoy visits Burma as Rohingya genocide concerns mount

By Simon Lewis and Wa Lone

London/Naypyidaw, 09.01.2017 (Independent) – United Nations human rights envoy Yanghee Lee has arrived in Burma on a 12-day visit amid growing concern about reports of abuse of members of the Rohingya Muslim minority in a government security crackdown.

Attackers killed nine police officers on 9 October in a coordinated assault on posts near Burma’s border with Bangladesh. Authorities say members of the Rohingya minority carried out the attacks and launched a security sweep. Since then, at least 86 people have been killed and the UN says about 34,000 civilians have fled across the border to Bangladesh.

Residents and refugees accuse the military of killing, raping and arbitrarily detaining civilians while burning villages in northwestern Rakhine State. The government, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, denies the accusations and insists a lawful counter-insurgency operation is underway.

Lee would visit the north of Rakhine State, where the military operation is taking place, the commercial hub Yangon, the capital Naypyidaw and Kachin State in the north, where government forces are battling autonomy-seeking ethnic Kachin guerrillas, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.

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