Articles

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The refugee status within EU

From an individual case to a political case

The case of the Romanian yoga teaches, Gregorian Bivolaru, has been studied and the Romanian abuses reported by numerous human rights organisations and experts such as Amnesty International, The Helsinki Committee in Romanian (APADOR-CH), Human Rights Without Frontiers, the Romanian professor of politics Gabriel Andreescu, founder of APADOR-CH, Swedish expert in the Supreme Court Karl Erik Nyllund and the Danish journalist and human rights activist Vibeke Sperling.

The complexity and uniqueness of the case comes from the fact that a European citizen is simultaneously protected by his refugee status and looks to be apprehended for imprisonment by the same authorities and for the same persecution.

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Spiritual Human Rights 2013 Conference Invitation

Soteria International in collaboration with

present:

Spiritual Human Rights 2013 Conference
Copenhagen, 10th December 2013

Freedom of conscience and belief at a crossroads in Europe - self-determination and spiritual teachings

Governments are implementing new laws across Europe, claiming to protect citizens from “mind manipulation”. The criminalization targets particularly minority religions and spiritual movements.

Our democracy is based on self-determination - the individual’s ability and right to decide for himself. The new laws suggest that this ability is threatened today. But are spiritual teachings the threat? Is criminalization the answer?

If the individuals’ ability of self-determination is threatened, should it not be secured by strengthening the freedom of conscience, rather than by criminalizing certain thoughts or beliefs?

Welcome to the 6th Spiritual Human Rights conference with international experts, politicians, human rights activists and spiritual leaders discussing different perspectives on self-determination and spiritual teachings.

at Global Platform Denmark, Fælledvej 12, Copenhagen N
or participate online at spiritualhumanrights.org

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A cause for concern in Europe – Freedom of opinion, religion and belief - part 2

A cause for concern in Europe – Freedom of opinion, religion and belief. Persecution of and discrimination against minority-groups.

Continued from part 1

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A cause for concern in Europe – Freedom of opinion, religion and belief - part 1

A cause for concern in Europe – Freedom of opinion, religion and belief. Persecution of and discrimination against minority-groups.

This October, 2013, in Brusells, Soteria International co-organized an event together with the European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom (EIFRF), United Sikh International, European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (EMISCO), Federation Pro Europa Christiana, Coordination des Associations et des Citoyens pour la Liberté de Conscience (CAPLC Europe), Forum for Religious Freedom (FOREF). The stated purpose of the event was to inform the interested public about the politics of repression which is sadly still going on nowadays in what regards certain religious minorities of Europe and to raise attention to the threat of such politics in a democratic European Union. Speakers made the audience aware of the break of international human rights in such cases and also tried to provide beneficial examples that co-exist in Europe with such dubious practices.

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Live discussion with vice-president Viviane Reding on the Romanian misuse of EU mechanisms to continue persecution of refugees

On 14th October Mrs. Reding visited the Citizens’ Dialogue in Stockholm. The Swedish representative of Soteria International, Mr. Konrad Swenninger brought up the issue of a human rights contradiction between the European Arrest Warrant and the International Convention for protection of Refugees. As an example, Mr. Swenninger mentioned the case of Gregorian Bivolaru, a Romanian political dissident continuously targeted by Romanian authorities and was given political asylum in Sweden. The asylum is now threatened by a European Arrest Warrant issued in June 2013 by Romanian authorities, as a result of a highly controversial decision of the Romanian Supreme Court against Bivolaru.

Acknowledging the case, Mrs. Reding stated that indeed the European Arrest Warrant has been a complicated subject in European politics. She and her team have insisted on precise procedures related to the warrant, so that it cannot be used by national authorities to pursue undemocratic interests. Referring to the situation in Romania, Mrs. Reding is concerned that indeed the country struggles with implementation and respect for democratic procedures. Mrs. Reding reminded the audience that in the summer of 2012, the Directorate General for Justice of the EC, which she conducts, severely criticized the attack on the constitution of Romania attempted by opposing Romanian governing parties.

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Soteria International brings attention in a OSCE’s HDIM-2013 side event conference to a human rights contradiction in Bivolaru’s case

The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), Europe's largest annual human rights and democracy conference, is organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a platform for OSCE participating States, Partners for Co-operation, civil society, international organizations and OSCE structures to take stock of the implementation of the human dimension commitments, discuss associated challenges, share good practices and make recommendations for further improvements (www.osce.org/hdim_2013).

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The right to a fair trial affected by biased media coverage

The right to a fair trial affected by biased and harassing media coverage of court cases – Soteria International presentation at the OSCE annual event

On 2nd October 2013, during the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting organized by OSCE in Warsaw, Soteria International presented its observation of how the right to a fair trial is influenced by the unfair, biased and corruptive media coverage of court cases. Making the parallel with the criteria for free and fair elections established by OSCE election observation missions, it was proposed that similar method is considered in trial monitoring programs.

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Human trafficking law – a pretext to attack spiritual communities

Soteria International speaks at OSCE event about abusive misinterpretation of the human trafficking law in cases against spiritual communities

On 30th September 2013, during the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting organized by OSCE in Warsaw, Soteria International presented its findings and recommendations on how the human trafficking discourse is being abused in some countries. While in many states the problem of human trafficking continues to be one of the most serious issues, it is often the case that state authorities use such allegations to attack spiritual movements that create communities based on common voluntary work.

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Political asylum within the European Union

Uncertain provisions of the European law regarding political asylum granted by one EU member state to a citizen of another EU member state create a human rights contradiction in the case of Gregorian Bivolaru.

On 3rd October 2013, during the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting organized by OSCE in Warsaw, Soteria International raised in front of the international community the issue appeared in one of the cases monitored by the organization. The case regards political asylum granted by Sweden to a Romanian citizen, founder of a large spiritual movement due to the persecution he faced in his home country. Since Romania acceded to the EU, the prosecution of the respective person is now considered on equal ground with the decision of asylum, thus it creates a contradiction between the asylum decision and the decision to issue an European warrant of arrest. While it is a legal matter the implications on human dimension result in violation of core fundamental rights.

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Asylum and Human Rights challenged by EU directives

Soteria International invites you to a conference:
Asylum and Human Rights challenged by EU directives

03 October 2013, 13:15 – 14:45
Side Event, Meeting Room 3

OSCE/ODIHR - Warsaw

 

Mr. Bivolaru is a Romanian refugee with asylum in Sweden. He has been persecuted since the Ceausescu regime. In June 2013 Romania issued a European Arrest Warrant for him to be handed over to 6 years imprisonment. Thus Swedish authorities are obliged simultaneously to protect the refugee and to take part in the persecutions from which they protect him.

 

This reveals an alarming unsolved conflict between asylum rights and EU directives.

Are Human Rights sacrificed in EU to cover faulty practice?

Political asylum may be granted because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Asylum is a fundamental right and granting it is an international obligation recognized in the 1951 Geneva Convention on the protection of refugees.

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Institutional discrimination of religious and spiritual minorities in Italy and Romania discussed at the OSCE meeting with civil society

The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), Europe's largest annual human rights and democracy conference, is organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a platform for OSCE participating States, Partners for Co-operation, civil society, international organizations and OSCE structures to take stock of the implementation of the human dimension commitments, discuss associated challenges, share good practices and make recommendations for further improvements (www.osce.org/hdim_2013).

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Religious freedom, the obstacles in the path towards equal opportunities in Italy

by Camillo Maffia

Recent reports on the conditions of religious freedom in Italy show a relatively peaceful situation compared with other European countries and the world. However, there is often the tendency to underestimate the backwardness of the legislative framework, insufficient to contain the changes that globalization has produced in a country in which, only thirty years ago, Catholicism was the only religion of the State. The media role and the control of the police on religious minorities is such as to enable us to affirm that equal religious opportunities are not guaranteed enough, at the level of co-existence, in the country.

 

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Ryszard Matuszewski (Paramahansa Lalit Mohan Baba-Ji) persecuted by Polish authorities

A case about religious persecutions and violation of human rights was signaled in Poland, starring the spotlight on Ryszard Matuszewski (Paramahansa Lalit Mohan Baba-Ji), the head of Hindu Himavanti Confraternity Order (HCO), who was imprisoned together with other members of HCO, based on information posted on the site www.ryszard-matuszewski.com.

We present below some details related to this case, in the way it was mentioned on the above site, and we will investigate for updates in the near future.

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Asylum and human rights challenged by EU directives

Mr. Bivolaru is a Romanian refugee with asylum in Sweden. He has been persecuted since the Ceausescu regime. In June 2013, Romanian authorities issued a European Warrant of Arrest for him to be handed over for 6 years imprisonment. Swedish authorities are obliged simultaneously to protect the refugee and to take no part in the persecutions from which they protect him.

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Institutional discrimination of minority religions; Italy and Romania

Unconstitutional practices – witch-hunts in the media – and social marginalization: stigmatization of minority religions and spiritual movements.

As minority religions and spiritual and esoteric movements gain momentum in the modern world, so do those who criticise them, often helped by sensationalist media and institutionalized interests. The large propagation of misinformation, based on interpretations, rumours and exaggerations, often lead to marginalization and persecution of spiritual practitioners. One would expect modern democratic countries to effectively mediate such discriminations. Instead, authorities themselves often fall into a trap of sensationalistic threats proliferated by media and traditionalists.

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UN Peace Day Saturday 21st September

Join us for a Peace Walk in Copenhagen Saturday 21st September on the UN international Peace Day!

Soteria International will contribute among the Peace Speeches outside the Danish Parliament 3-4 pm. The arrangement is a joint venture under the guidence of "Think with the Heart" - Tænk med Hjertet.

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Freedom of Religion seminar in the European Parliament

Soteria International are partners in organizing the conference "A cause for concern in Europe: Freedom of opinion, religion and belief. Persecution of, and discrimination against minority groups" in the European Parliament 16th October.

We cordially welcome all collaborators and interested to this important discussion among scholars, human rights activists and politicians for securing fundamental freedom in Europe!

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Famous human rights defender Mr. Quraishy criticizes FECRIS

Last year we highlighted the democratic problems inside FECRIS that surfaced in a report from Dresden University - Undemocratic practices of anti-sect movements.

The well-known Human Rights defender Mr. Quraishy visited their annual meeting and after issued a video expressing his negative experiences confirming the critique of sectarian and undemocratic practices within the organization.

Mr. Quraishy also made a written complaint to the Council of Europe where FECRIS enjoys advisory status and received an answer from Jutta Gützkow, Head of Civil Society Division, Directorate General of Democracy of the
 Council of Europe, who replied that they are looking into the matter.

The video has been widely spread in social media and social society have expressed their support of Mr. Quraishy’s critique and republished the video, such as Human Rights Without Frontiers, Religions for Peace, European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom (EIFRF) and EMISCO.

Soteria International fully supports Mr. Quraishy and all initiatives to increase transparency regarding the disproportionate influence FECRIS and their anti-spiritual and undemocratic agenda have in Europe today.

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Universal Peace Federation meeting on importance of interfaith activities

On the 27th July Soteria International was invited to speak at the Universal Peace Federation interfaith prayer meeting in Copenhagen on the topic of “Most important three points for interfaith activity”. Soteria International encourages the many growing interfaith activities that we consider a cornerstone in securing the freedom of conscience and belief, as outlined in the speech as follows:

“Thank you Mr. Igarashi and Universal Peace Federation for inviting Soteria International to this well arranged interfaith meeting to speak on the important issue of interfaith activities.

Soteria International is engaged when human rights are breached due the individual practice of faith or belief.

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Declaration of the alleged injured part in the process of Bivolaru

Below is the video declaration of Madalina Dumitru, the alleged victim in the case against Gregorian Bivolaru. She states the ordeal she has to endure because of the trial she was dragged into against her will becasue of the blatant decision of Romanian authorities to incriminate Gregorian Bivolaru by all means.




To turn on the English subtitles, please press the caption button in the menu of the video
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