Since 2012 the course “scientific yoga” has been offered to the students of the University of the Republic of Uruguay (UDELAR). The course has become very popular among both students and teachers. The success has been internationally appreciated as a novel way to increase study results at the University.
Last week the psychologist Farias together with the priest Pastorino accused the yoga course to be “sectarian”, both members of SEAS - Servicio de Estudio y Asesoramiento en Sectas del Uruguay.
While visiting the University they created panic by spreading the rumour that three students, who are presently at a yoga retreat in Europe, had been kidnapped by a European sex sect. Soteria International has been in contact with the students, who managed to assure their worried families and friends that the rumours are unfounded.
The non-democratic and subversive role of anti-sect movements was highlighted in the report “Anti-Sect Movements and State Neutrality” (Dresden University, 2012). Exhibiting a strong bias and acting as if driven by vested interests, the psychologist and priest have posed as experts in front of media and authorities, instigating hate and staging contemporary “witch-hunts” in media."
After several years of trial and a mass media campaign, the yoga members of MISA which were accused of human trafficking have been acquitted. Soon after the verdict, the motivation of the verdict was released.
The motivation given by the Romanian judge seems to be a report against the abuses done by the prosecutors and the human rights infringements of MISA yoga students and teachers.
We selected some important parts of the this:
EXCERPTS FROM THE MOTIVATION OF THE DECISION IN THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASE AGAINST MISA YOGA SCHOOL FROM ROMANIA
“ The criminal investigation authority has proceeded to interview several injured parties, to the hearing of witnesses so that according to these statements it founded the notification document and forwarded it to the court, arguing that all offenses listed above are proved to be incumbent upon the defendants.
But the whole investigation of the court revealed inconsistencies of the allegations in the indictment, in this phase all allegations proving their true nature, that is pure conjecture, inferences devoid of evidentiary support, becoming more than obvious that the facts of the indictment either do not exist or they do not meet the constitutive elements of the offenses for which the defendants were prosecuted.
By Mark Barwick, Human Rights Without Frontiers
HRWF (15.07.2015) - When the freedom of religion or belief has been violated, we typically think of actions that have been taken against individuals. This is the lens through which people of Western cultures tend to view human rights, since individuals are normally regarded as the primary right-holders in society. It is also individuals that are held accountable for infractions of the law or for criminal offenses.
However, many people are in prison or are otherwise sanctioned not for something that they have done or for something they believe in, despite the charges that have been made against them. They are there because of their religious or belief identity and association with a group.
The freedom of association is a hallmark of any democratic system. And the freedom of religion or belief itself is understood to include the freedom to practice one's religion "either individually or in community with others," as it is stated in Article 18 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. It is this community dimension - that is present in most religions and that shapes profoundly religious identity - that can make governments and authorities uneasy. It can trigger actions to monitor, control and even supress that community. And by implication, that means anyone who is associated with that community.
1998-1999 began the launch of China’s suppression of the Falun Gong, a traditional discipline with a big following in China (70-100 million practising). Being an accessible spiritual practise bringing a lot of benefits, Falun Gong was becoming a respected practise and a household name.
As we know, from many of the cases of the infringement of spiritual human rights, any spiritual movement which is increasing in popularity and also, encourages their practitioners to develop an inner freedom, is considered a threat to those governments still existing under corrupt regimes, whether they maybe under the guise of a kind of ‘democracy’ or in this case, a clear cut Communist rule.
Soteria International took part today in the presentation of the first Freedom of Religion or Belief World Report done by The European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance (EP Intergroup on FoRB & RT)
We reproduce here their press release of the event:
European Parliament Intergroup presents its first Freedom of Religion or Belief World Report
(03.06.2015) - The European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance (EP Intergroup on FoRB & RT) presented its first Annual Report on the 'State of Freedom of Religion or Belief' at an event hosted by the Intergroup in collaboration with United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Speakers included the Chairs of the EP Intergroup on FoRB & RT and USCIRF as well as the Director of Human Rights at the European External Action Service (EEAS).
We will bring a series of articles regarding the witch-hunt effects in society, displacing the rule of law, when spiritual groups are confronted with allegations of sexual abuse.
We start with an article by André Tarassi published by “Centre d'Information et de Conseil des Nouvelles Spiritualités” – CICNS, in 2006.
"Spiritual Minorities and sexual abuse?
By André Tarassi
Anne A. Simpkinson, whose remarks are intended to denounce sexual deviance in spiritual groups in the United States, says in her book "Betrayal of the Soul": In the mid-1980s, the wave of articles detailing the accusations against Catholic priests about their conduct with teenagers, has unleashed a series of revelations about the behaviour of many spiritual authorities in almost all religions. Since then, new charges arise regularly. There is hardly a month without something new emerging about a priest, a rabbi, a pastor, a rishi or accused swami resigning because of sexual abuse. It would be tempting to point to one group or another and say "it's their fault, if we put them all in prison if they were eliminated, there would be no more of this abuse!”
On March 30, an important event was hosted by the European Parliament, a public hearing on fundamental rights in the European Union.
The main goal of this public hearing was to contribute to the on-going dialogue on the mechanisms and methods meant to better defend the rule of law and the fundamental rights of people in the Union, and to allow for an assessment of the Union's efforts to guard and promote its common values.
The public hearing has gathered institutional actors, researchers and organisations of the civil society to discuss the situation of fundamental rights in the EU. The first session focused on the Union's recent initiatives to protect and promote fundamental rights and the rule of law and on the Union's institutional framework in this field. Among the spokespersons were: First Vice-President of the Commission - Timmermans, Chair of Council's Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens Rights and Free Movement of Persons (EU accession to ECHR) - Kristīne Līce, Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice - Kokott, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights - Muižnieks, and Amnesty International. The second session focused on specific threats to fundamental rights in the European Union, rallying the Fundamental Rights Agency, organisations of civil society and several experts. One also presented the recent study on "The impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across the Member States of the EU," conducted at LIBE's request.