EU SUPPORTS JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES BANNED IN RUSSIA
Lenta.ru, 21 April 2017
Brussels came out in support of the religious movement of Jehovah's Witnesses, whose activity was banned on the territory of Russia by decision of the Supreme Court. This is said in a statement published on the website of the European Service of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for the foreign policy of the European Union (EU).
"Jehovah's Witnesses, like all other religious organizations, should have the possibility of peacefully enjoying the freedom of assembly, as it is guaranteed by the Russian constitution as well as by international obligations of the Russian federation and world standards of human rights," the European Service of Foreign Affairs notes.
On 20 April, the Supreme Court ruled the Jehovah's Witnesses to be an extremist organization and prohibited the activity of all 395 divisions operating on the territory of the country. A representative of the Jehovah's Witnesses declared their readiness to turn to the appellate instance, and if necessary to go to the European Court for Human Rights. The decision will take effect after 30 days.
On 17 March, the Ministry of Justice turned to the Supreme Court with a demand to prohibit Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia because of violations by them of anti-extremism legislation. Several days later the activity of the Administrative Center of the movement in Russia was suspended. The head organization was entered into the list of extremist organizations of the Ministry of Justice.
In response to this, the Jehovah's Witnesses asked the Supreme Court to recognize them as the victim of political repressions, although after hearing the arguments of the parties the court refused to accept the counter suit.
Jehovah's Witnesses is an international
religious organization with headquarters in New York. In 2015,
more than eight million of its followers were counted in the
world, and about 175
thousand of its adherents reside in Russia. Adherents of the
movement are accused of neglect for life because of refusal of
medical operations and blood transfusion. They also are accused of
reluctance to serve in the army. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 April
EU POINTS RUSSIA TO RIGHT OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES TO ENJOY FREEDOMS PROVIDED BY RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION
Interfax-Religiia, 21 April 2017
The decision of the Russian Supreme Court banning the activity of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia on the basis of the accusation of extremism may lead to the criminal prosecutions of members of the religious group for simple acts of worship, stated an official representative of the European Foreign Policy Service.
"Jehovah's Witnesses, like all other religious groups, should have the possibility of unhindered enjoyment of freedom of assembly without interference, as this is guaranteed by the constitution of the Russian federation and also by international obligations of Russia and international standards in the area of human rights," the statement, distributed on Friday in Brussels, says.
A representative of the European Foreign Policy Service noted that the European Union continues to promote "freedom of religion or convictions as a right which may be enjoyed by people throughout the world on the basis of principles of equality, nondiscrimination, and universality." (tr. by PDS, posted 23 April 2017)
GERMAN AUTHORITIES UPSET BY BAN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN RUSSIA
RIA Novosti, 21 April 2017
The government of Germany expresses its concern about the decision of the Russian Supreme Court which prohibited the activity of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, an official representative of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Martin Shefer, stated at a briefing in Berlin on 21 April.
"The government of Germany expresses concern that yesterday Russian justice issued a sentence banning Jehovah's Witnesses," Shefer said.
He added that he urges Russia "to adhere to international obligations" for protecting "religious liberty."
On Thursday the Russian Supreme Court ruled the activity of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia to be extremist and it banned its work. It also ordered the confiscation of the property of the organization. The Ministry of Justice earlier suspended the work of the center until the concluding resolution of the dispute in court. The Administrative Center is preparing an appeal. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 April 2017)
BRITAIN UPSET BY DECISION OF RUSSIAN SUPREME COURT ON JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
RIA Novosti, 21 April 2017
Great Britain is concerned by the decision of the Russian Supreme Court to find the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses to be extremist.
On 20 April the Russian Supreme Court ruled the activity of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia to be extremist and it prohibited its work. Representatives of the Jehovah's Witnesses declared their intention to appeal this decision in the European Court for Human Rights. The Germany foreign ministry and the foreign policy service of the European Union came out in defense of the organization.
"I am disturbed by the decision of the Russian Supreme Court to find Jehovah's Witnesses to be 'extremist.' This ruling, in essence, criminalizes the peaceful religious profession of 175 thousand Russian citizens and it contradicts the right to religious liberty guaranteed by the Russian constitution," a statement by the minister for human rights, Joyce Anelay, says.
"Great Britain urges the Russian government to observe its international obligations in honoring this basic right," she emphasized.
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