HRWF (09.07.2012) – On 6 July 2012, MIVILUDES issued a press release which said: “The Inter-ministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combating Cultic Deviances takes note of the court decision taken by the European Court of Human Rights on 5 July 2012 but makes clear it was a decision about a purely fiscal dispute. It will go on exercising vigilance regarding the Jehovah’s Witnesses because of denouncements of “sectarian deviations” that it regularly receives from former members or from relatives of members of this religious community.”
This position is rather surprising. Complaints against a group addressed to MIVILUDES, but not lodged with the police or going through judicial proceedings, are sufficient for the state agency to put the said group under scrutiny without it being informed and able to defend itself case by case before MIVILUDES, a specific arbitration commission or a court. Is the use by a state agency of denouncements the contents and the authors of which remain unknown to the accused religious group compatible with democratic principles when they are utilized to justify the implementation of a policy targeting the said group?
UN Special Rapport on Freedom of Religion or Belief Warned France in 2005
After her visit to France on 18 to 29 September 2005, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion of Belief, Asma Jahangir, said in her Report dated 6 March 2006:
“112. The Special Rapporteur urges the Government to ensure that its mechanisms for dealing with these religious groups or communities of belief deliver a message based on tolerance, freedom of religion or belief and on the principle that no one can be judged for his actions other than through the appropriate judicial channels.