Along with Soteria International, many other NGOs working towards the respect of human rights are involved in revealing the harmful activities and impact of anti-sect organizations. Each year at the OSCE's Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, the issue of anti-sect organizations is raised with yet new examples of abuses committed since the last meeting. Does the problem persist due to a lack of political will?
Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers Pour la Liberté de Conscience (Coordination of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of Conscience, or CAP) is one of the organisations with whom Soteria International collaborates. At this year's OSCE HDIM, CAP exposed, yet again, the harmful impact of FECRIS, a supposed non-government organisation claiming to be fighting against the abuse of individuals by 'sects/cults', yet whose work is almost entirely funded by the French state.
Following is the statement made by CAP at the OSCE HDIM 2017:
Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM)
Working Session 6: Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief Warsaw, 11 – 22 September 2017
It has NGO consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. During the last OSCE session on freedom of religion or belief in September 2016, CAP exposed the harmful activities of FECRIS (the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Sectarianism) in Russia and its integral financing by the French Government.
Members of FECRIS and of its Russian branch, the Saint Ireneus of Lyons Centre for Religious Studies which is affiliated to the Orthodox Church, have been waging for years a campaign against non-Orthodox minorities in order t o eradicate them from the Russian territory. Alexander Dvorkin, Vice-President of FECRIS and Director of the Saint Ireneus of Lyons.
[Dvorkin] is the major spokesperson and activist in th is campaign against religious minorities in Russia.
The situation of religious minorities has now worsened during the last months: the banning of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ practice of their faith on the Russian territory; and the sentencing of five Scientologists to two months pre trial detention and a raid of their Church in St Petersburg.
FECRIS claims in its by-laws that its activities do not enter « the religious field » and declares to be neutral in this matter. How is it th en that the Vice-President of FECRIS, an organization registered in secular France and massively financed by the French State, is Alexander Dvorkin, a Russian citizen blessed, financed and missioned by the Russian
Orthodox Church Patriarch to combat religious minorities perceived as competitors? Currently the French Prime Minister wants to review the aims of MIVILUDES and questions the systematic funding of « anti-sect » associations like FECRIS.
We therefore ask the French Government to cease its support to FECRIS and its harmful activities in Russia.
*You can find the original article on CAP's homepage