Contribution from the European Raelian Movement to the working session
Freedom of Religion or Belief
Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting
Vienna December 09 to 10, 2010
November 9: Education and Religion or Belief
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much for courageously giving us the opportunity to speak. We have been attending the OSCE every year for seven years now, and each time you have given us the freedom to express ourselves, the right to live, the right to be, albeit simply different. We hope that our speeches and the facts we report to you will help to improve the religious freedom in Europe, the development of human rights and its spirit of freedom.
We observe that French-speaking countries, especially France and Belgium, have still not decided to adopt the OSCE standards regarding religious freedom. Despite numerous complaints and warnings from various human rights movements and OSCE officials, these two countries are still applying their policies of harassment against religious minorities.
Faced with numerous critics, these countries have been arguing since 2008 that the movements complaining about their policies are the offspring of disguised “cults” and are organising, at national level, conferences on the subject of “cults attacking the OSCE”. Did you hear about this? The French MIVILUDES and the Belgian CIAOSN, in charge of fighting against philosophical minorities, are not afraid to affirm that we are manipulating the OSCE (1). You will find in the written version of this speech the references to their messages.
As a counsellor in applied psychology, I note that if after seven years nothing has changed, it is an issue of paradigms, of sophistry. Indeed, in the deepest part of the brains of French and Belgian politicians lies the irrational belief that spiritual minority equals cult, and cult equals danger. The strength of the paradigm is that whatever arguments or evidence are put forward indicating that their policies are dangerous and anti-democratic, they are unable to see it and therefore do not change, obviously. This is comparable to religious fanaticism.
Our only chance to be respected as a new religion and to live in peace lies in the respect of human rights and supranational institutions. It is therefore up to you, OSCE officials, to press them to respect European standards.
These two countries have set up organisations to fight sectarian aberrations. This could certainly have been a praiseworthy action but it is first necessary to legally define what a sectarian aberration is, which is not currently the case. However, when these aberrations are the fact of religious majorities, these organisations remain silent; as you have seen with the Catholic Church and the staggering number of pedophile priests that are protected within it. It talks about the right of priests to the secrecy of the confession without ever recognising the right of the victim, the right of a child to a future. If a minority religious group were to accumulate all these same sectarian aberrations cited in the media with such horror, the media would already have severely condemned it as a “cult” or “harmful sectarian organisation”.
This discrimination, reproduced by the media, has become their battle horse; double standards, whose words pervert public opinion. By creating injustice, manipulation of information, the denigration of the equality of all, with regard to the right to fair and neutral information, is orchestrated with the aim of harming others. This results in the disturbance of public order. Just ask the members of the new philosophical minorities. Do they think they live in society with the same rights as others? Do they feel safe? Do they enjoy freedom of thought, freedom of movement?
The major issue for these two governments is that they find almost nothing that would go against the law, or cause social nuisance, and would prove a “sectarian aberration”. It is not to say that they haven’t tried. Muscular and illegal raids by the Miviludes on communities have been carried out with no results, apart from the trauma experienced by those “visited”. Despite this, statistically and proportionally, there are fewer violations of the law in minorities than in religious majorities.
For the past fifteen years, this relentlessness has created true social hatred and contempt, dividing both French and Belgian society. No more social peace! According to our lawyers, it is easier to defend a terrorist than a member of a minority who is fighting, for example, for alternating parental custody in the event of divorce. In France, the terms “virus, pathology of belief, contamination, harmful” are associated with members of minorities (2). This is not without recalling a dark period in the past.
This hatred of the other is therefore maintained from the highest levels of the Belgian and French state, where a good number of circulars and state documents still mention the terms “fight against the cults” (3) and, as you know, some lists containing every religious minority.
Thus, as of September 23, 2009, the French Senate endowed vocational training with an “anti-cult arsenal”. This completes an anti-cult arsenal for public administrations that remunerate hundreds of people for this fight.
French notaries receive secret instructions about members of religious minorities. Two of our members died this year in France and the notaries refused to deal with their estates and legacies (4).
The State has set up a special police unit, the CAIMADES, called the “Anti-cult police” to deal with sectarian aberrations (5).
In October, the Miviludes published an IPSOS poll showing that cults are dangerous for democracy according to 2/3 of the French people (6). On the one hand, it is clear that the fear conditioning of the French government over the last twenty-five years has been very effective. The Miviludes was, therefore, undoubtedly very proud to publish it. On the other hand, we do not understand why the Miviludes publishes such a survey: its purpose is the fight against sectarian aberrations and not against religious minorities. By publishing this survey without any comment of caution, we can only conclude that the Miviludes is malicious, showing its true objective: to fight against religious minorities.
Its determination, like that of Belgium, to seek to punish a potential crime that has not yet been committed, and will probably never be committed, leads to all kinds of excesses. Just because someone accuses his dog of rabies does not give him the legitimacy to shoot it! We have also seen this happen with the expulsion of the Gypsies. We can therefore only applaud the strong condemnation of France by the European Commissioner for Justice, Viviane Reding.
Cette politique de discrimination qui ressemble à s’y méprendre à une politique fasciste en ce qui concerne les minorités religieuses continue d’avoir les mêmes conséquences désastreuses au niveau social : pertes d’emploi, refus de participation à des événements, refus de location de salles publiques, pertes de gardes d’enfants, pertes d’emploi, rejets familiaux et violences physiques.
This policy of discrimination, reminiscent of a fascist policy with regard to religious minorities, continues to have the same disastrous social consequences: loss of jobs, refusal to participate in events, refusal to rent public rooms, loss of childcare, family rejection and physical violence.
We hope that the OSCE and every country in this room will put pressure on France and Belgium to put an end to this deplorable situation.
Our recommendations are as follows:
- 1 – The abolition of the CAIMADES, in France, so that only the citizen police can intervene at the request of the plaintiffs and, if necessary, to refer the matter to the common justice system.
- 2 – The abolition of the MIVILUDES and CIAOSN, which have no reason to exist, as well as the apologies and reparations of the Belgian and French governments.
- 3 – A modification of the “Centre for Equal Opportunities” in Belgium to become an organisation that also promotes tolerance and respect for members of religious minorities.
- 4 – An official destruction of the famous Belgian and French parliamentary report establishing a list of “cults”, with apologies from the parliament.
- 5 – A penalisation of the discriminatory use of the list of cults, because even if it has no legal value, it has a moral and social capacity for discrimination.
- 6 – If the public so wishes, information on minorities. We ask the OSCE to intervene with the national education system to encourage French and Belgian academics in creating a totally independent body that, after studying each spirituality, will be able to inform, without bias, about the nature of each spiritual grouping, whether majority or minority, thus allowing the citizens to make their own spiritual choices. This body should bring together sociologists, psychologists, historians, theologians, other specialists in the human sciences, lawyers and representatives of each of the currents of thought involved.
- 7 – We are not asking for any kind of weakening in the fight against criminally reprehensible activities, but we ask this to be done without any discrimination, both within recognised religions and among non-recognised religious minorities.
It is time for these two countries to accept that their citizens are adults and capable, using their intelligence, of making their spiritual choices and of measuring for themselves the consequences of their actions. Existing laws are more than sufficient to condemn the aberrations.
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for your attention.
(1) The Miviludes reported on the fact that the cults were lobbying the OSCE in its 2008 report, on page 45, a whole chapter entitled: Strategies for international influence in 2008: the example of the actions of the sectarian movement at the UN. See link below : Miviludes Report 2008 (pdf)
The Center for Information and Advice on Harmful Sectarian Organisations (CIAOSN) organised, in Belgium, a study day, by invitation, on Friday, September 17 2010, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, on the theme: “Human rights and fundamental liberties tested by sectarianism”. The invitation reproduced at the bottom of the document shows very clearly the content of this day.
(2) In: Entretien avec Frédéric Malon, responsable de la cellule d’assistance et d’intervention en matière de dérive sectaire (Caimades) de la police judiciaire (Interview with Frédéric Malon, head of the assistance and intervention cell for sectarian aberrations (Caimades) of the judicial police) (La Croix – November 25, 2009): “At the end of the day, Jean-Marie Bockel, Secretary of State for Justice, closed this colloquium on sectarian aberrations that he has – and this is very topical – compared to “mutant viruses” that spread “in often insidious forms the poison of the manipulation of human behaviour and minds, which violate the dignity of people and fundamental freedoms”. Jean-Marie Bockel emphasised on a “mobilisation of every moment” from the government on a phenomenon in “perpetual mutation, generating new risks linked to the use in particular of the Internet”, a phenomenon analysed as “a pathology of belief against a background of individualisation and deregulation of belief.”
(3) On this topic, please read the Guide for Public Officials published by the Miviludes. Also, as of September 23, 2009, the French Senate has provided professional training with an “anti-cult arsenal”. This completes an anti-cult arsenal for public administrations that remunerate hundreds of people for this fight:
In Belgium, the CIAOSN explains, on its website, that to identify a harmful cult, it bases its work on the list of cults created in the past. It sounds like a farce. In addition, it provides the reader with a brochure entitled “Is it a cult?”, adding even more confusion because the object of its work is strictly and solely related to “harmful sectarian organisations”. It should therefore come as no surprise that several Belgian cities refuse us the right of assembly or the right to practice our faith, also on the basis of the list of cults of the Belgian Parliament. We can provide a list of the municipalities that have motivated their refusal, in 2009 and 2010, because of this list.
(4) The French observatory, in its 1997 ANNUAL REPORT, made the Conseil supérieur du notariat aware of the need to protect the family patrimony in the face of the sectarian danger.
As a result, the last wishes of the Raelians are not respected. The facts are as follows: Mr. Jacques Aizac bequeathed everything to an association intended to help excised women, but since the idea for this association came from Rael, the notary, who is in charge of the estate, acted in a manner contrary to his code of ethics. Mr. Aizac died in March 2009 and today, in December 2010, there is still no feedback from the case. When we call him, we are not getting any answer. When Mr. Aizac’s partner asks if she can file his will herself, the same notary replies that this is not possible and that she must beware of cults; whereas their code of ethics specifies that a notary must not make a selection from their clientele because they are agents of the state. Mr. Jacques Dramet, who died in July 2010, states in his will that he bequeaths all his assets to the Raelian Movement, except the legal minimum to his two daughters, and that the reading of the will must be done in the presence of the representative of the Movement and his daughters. However, the notary never contacted the representative and even told his daughters to beware of the representative. Mr. Dramet had expressed the wish to have a New Orleans band at his funeral. When the band arrived on site, they refused to play on the pretext that the deceased was Raelian.
(5) See the link: http://www.info-sectes.ch/prevention-caimades.htm#Fenech and Entretien avec Frédéric Malon, responsable de la cellule d’assistance et d’intervention en matière de dérive sectaire (Caimades) de la police judiciaire (La Croix – November 25, 2009) and Création d’une police antisectes en France: la Caimades – November 26, 2009)
(6) In October, the Miviludes published an IPSOS poll showing that cults are dangerous for democracy according to 2/3 of the French people (5). Here is the AFP wire story of September 29th announcing the poll: http://news.fr.msn.com/m6-actualite/france/article.aspx?cp-documentid=154802462