A forum for understanding and resolution provided by the All Faiths Network

The All Faiths Network reaches into some twenty-five different belief and faith traditions. Our aim is the furtherance of mutual respect.

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The All Faiths Network would like to draw your attention to a draft report that has just been adopted by the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe and is due to be considered for adoption by the full Parliamentary Assembly at the beginning of April.

What is it about

This report entitled “The protection of minors against the excesses of sects” (http://website-pace.net/documents/10643/110596/ajdoc0720022014press.pdf/42ae8104-ad82-4097-b3a2-5ceb19a14769) appears to be concerned about the safety of children – an issue that we are fully in support of, yet in fact its effect will be the opposite.

In short, the report, apart from having no evidence to support its conclusions, violates international human rights practice, standards and law on a number of grounds. This report itself is so poorly written and thought through that it is difficult to understand how it has gotten this far.

Summary of key points

Key points of concern with regards to the Council of Europe draft report on “The protection of minors against the excesses of sects”.

This report entitled “The protection of minors against the excesses of sects” (http://website-pace.net/documents/10643/110596/ajdoc0720022014press.pdf/42ae8104-ad82-4097-b3a2-5ceb19a14769) appears to be concerned about the safety of children – an issue that we are fully in support of, yet in fact its effect will be the opposite.

In short, the report, apart from having no evidence to support its conclusions, violates international human rights practice, standards and law on a number of grounds. This report itself is so poorly written and thought through that it is difficult to understand how it has gotten this far.

It seems clear to us that a report of this nature is coming from some vested interest seeking to target religious minorities. Moslems have “sects“, Hindus have “sects“, Christians have “sects“, newer religions are “sects“. In one country Catholicism is a “sect“ and in another, Protestantism.

Is this report is being driven by a hidden agenda? Will it next be used to stir up further discontent against Moslem ‘sects’ and create another round of social friction? Reading the report itself leads one to see the only real source of information is a French group called Miviludes.

The result of this report, if adopted, is that Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs, Christians and other minorities will soon be accused of ‘psychological subjugation’ (a term in the report that has no legal definition) and parents and their children will be disadvantaged and discriminated against. Under international human rights standards parents have the right to educate their children in line with their faith and this will certainly be denied (as it already is in countries like Russia and France) simply because it is considered that wearing a turban at school, home schooling or a stricter moral upbringing is now “psychologically damaging” for the child.

Our laws to protect child abuse are mostly adequate – but targeting minorities in order to ‘protect minors’ will only have the opposite effect – they will become the victims of abuse.

See summary of key points of concern of the report [see key points here]

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