Last Articles

Did Romania mislead Europol to violate the Geneva Convention?

On Friday, January 29, EUROPOL published “Europe’s most wanted fugitive” list. The list features 43 fugitives, who hide in other EU member states. Most of them are wanted for murder, armed robbery, rape or organized crime. But one of them is not a hiding fugitive at all, but a Romanian refugee with asylum in Sweden.

The Romanian accusations were tried by the Swedish Supreme Court, who found them to violate his human rights. In 2006 he received Swedish asylum as religious refugee. In recent years Romania have taken up the persecutions of the refugee, now within the EU collaboration. In 2013 a European Arrest Warrant was issued on his name, and now he appears on Europol's most wanted fugitives list.

Judicial protection between EU member states is rare and sensitive. The Romanian/Swedish case has been discussed at highest EU level. The European Commission has requested Swedish authorities first of all to protect the refugee's rights, allowing Sweden to ignore the European arrest warrant.

How can it be that Europol now side with Romania against the Swedish asylum and the Geneva Convention?

Read more →

Freedom of Belief in Italy

Presentation of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) at Montecitorio Palace

Recently Soteria International participated to an important event about the secularism and freedom of belief in Italy – presentation hosted by European Federation for Freedom of Belief in Rome.

Here is the synthesis of the event as presented by FOB.

Presentation of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) at Montecitorio Palace

On December 21, 2015, the European Federation for Freedom of Belief held its presentation conference at the Chamber of Deputies. 
The event, organized in the prestigious “Hall of Globe” of Montecitorio Palace thanks to Hon. Luciano Ciocchetti, was attended by about seventy people, among whom also representatives of nine religious and spiritual minorities:

  • Hare Krishna
  • Church of Jesus Christ  of Latter-day Saints
  • Italian Union of the Christian Adventist Churches of the 7th Day
  • Italian Buddhist Union
  • Unification Church – Federation of Families for Peace and Unity
  • Church of Scientology
  • Italian Buddhist Institute Soka Gakkai
  • Damanhur
  • Association of Hebrew Women of Italy

Also attending the conference, the representatives of three European and one Italian NGOs, all of them members of FOB: Soteria InternationalEuropean Coordination of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of ConscienceForum for Religious Freedom Europe and theInternational Association for the Defense of Religious Freedom.

Read more →

Synthesis - Conference of Spiritual Human Rights – December 2015, Copenhagen

Human Rights and Spiritual Practice

This year, Soteria International’s conference focused to bring the human rights in our daily life. The open dialogue with the participants started analyzing one by one different subjects as: What are human rights? ; Freedom of religion, conscience and belief – article 9; The term “sect” and marginalization of unfamiliar spiritual practice; The free conscience as spiritual practice and concluded with the practical approach of What can we do to support human rights in our society?

In the first topic, What are human rights? we raised the attention on the fact that the human rights are based on the morality. Morality is humanities attempt to formulate guiding principles, discerning right action from wrong action.

We briefly spoke about the history of the Human Rights, how they appeared and why. Human Rights were originally formulated after studying the common morality of different cultures in order not to be arbitrary and any claims that they make, attack the very foundation of human nature.

Read more →

Laicity and Freedom of Belief in Italy: Reports, Suggestions, Evidence Presentation of FOB

European Federation for Freedom of Belief - Italy

On Monday, 21th of December 2015, Soteria International is having the pleasure to participate as a guest at the conference held by FOB (European Federation for Freedom of Belief) in Rome.

Soteria International is member of FOB and together we organized conferences and seminars, sustaining a deeper understanding and a broader perspective on the freedom of conscience and belief.

FOB (European Federation for Freedom of Belief) is a European non-party and non- denominational federation, composed of associations founded in different member States of the European Union, created to support freedom of religion and belief.

During the conference FOB will present its own activities to the Italian public. The purposes of FOB substantially fit in the support to the FORB program passed by the European Union.

During this meeting, reports and suggestions by FOB will be investigated; wide room will be given to the speeches from people who have been involved with and committed to the defense of religious freedom for decades. Moreover evidence of cases in which such fundamental freedom has been seriously violated will be provided. Final aim is to let citizens become aware of the actual situations within this field giving them the knowledge and information needed to promote and sustain the respect of fundamental human rights.

The event will take place:

Monday 21th December 2015, at 10 am, in Rome, Palazzo Montecitorio. Sala Aldo Moro - Piazza di Montecitorio, 00186 Roma.

Read more →

Poetrie Institute, Jaroslav Dobes, Barbora Plaskova

Human Rights in Czech Republic

Many people have suffered social marginalization due to a media campaign against their belief system.

In Czech Republic, observation of Jaroslav Dobeš and his followers’ case revealed complexities that call for a thorough investigation on how it was handled by the Czech authorities.

Also, there is a need to address the remnants of totalitarian practices surfacing in this case. There is a certain risk that, if unaddressed, the case of Jaroslav Dobeš will be a dangerous precedent for a faulty political and governmental interference in the development of pluralism and fundamental freedoms, particularly in the field of conscience and belief.

Furthermore, the results of the observation stated that Czech society is prone to stigmatization and ostracism of those who choose to live differently from mainstream principles, as is the case of Jaroslav Dobeš’ followers, and that is by and large due to the inability of the Czech authorities to properly address and prevent human rights violations.

Read more →

Spiritual Human Rights 2015 Conference

Human Rights and Spiritual Practice

Soteria International invites you to the 8th edition of the

SPIRITUAL HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE 2015:

9TH DECEMBER 2015, hours 6.00 pm - 9.00 pm

Venue CONCORDIA, Address: Nordre Fasanvej 230, 2200 Copenhagen

Human Rights and Spiritual Practice

The seminar offers a practical approach to support human rights, at individual and societal level. The participants are invited to an open dialogue.

1.      What are human rights?

2.      Freedom of religion, conscience and belief – a hot potato in EU today!

3.      The term “sect” and marginalisation of unfamiliar spiritual practice

4.      The free conscience as spiritual practice – to stand up for your heart!

5.      What can you do to support human rights in your society?

During the event, we will share knowledge on how practically to deal with violations of spiritual human rights, including how to build an inner spiritual attitude facing such violations.

 

Read more →

Ogyen Kunzang Chöling Case - Belgium

A Buddhist Tibetan organization surveyed for their beliefs for more than 18 years

In the spring of 2015 Soteria International visited the Buddhist Tibetan organization Ogyen Kunzang Choling which is situated in the middle of Brussels.

Their story is impressive due to the fact that it has taken almost 2 decades for police to conclude their investigation. Also, their case follows the same line that  Soteria International has noticed before; a pattern of behaviour towards new spiritual groups in our society.

It is of no matter that Buddhism and Yoga are millenary traditions, spiritual practices for those wishing to follow their hearts, but in some parts of the world they are perceived as new spiritual movements.  Ogyen Kunzang Chöling (OKC) is a spiritual organisation, following the Buddhist Tibetan tradition. OKC was qualified as a “sect” by the Parliamentary Commission of inquiry on cults, in France in 1995 and then, in Belgium, in 1997.

As a result of this unsubstantial qualification, very strong mediatised judiciary investigations started in 1997 against this association, which in order to show their innocence, had to release numerous documents proving so.

Read more →