Unreasonable pressures imposed on Jehovah's Witnesses believers


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 8 June 2017


The Supreme Court's decision against the organizations of the Jehovah's Witnesses evoked a stream of violations of the rights of individual believers, despite the fact that the court did not review the doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses and also did not resolve the issue of the rights of individual persons.


On 26 April 2017, in the city of Mineralnye Vody (Stavropol territory) the head of the security service of a company suggested to a Jehovah's Witness who worked in the enterprise that he quit of his own accord. Otherwise he promised to make his life unbearable. In an unofficial conversation, one of the supervisors confirmed that this demand was connected with religious belief.


On 28 April 2017, in the city of Krasnodar, two women who worked in a territorial medical clinic refused to comply with a requirement to wear a St. George's ribbon on their uniform. They were summoned to the supervisor's office, who referred to an order of the head doctor and threatened them with dismissal. The women tried unsuccessfully to explain their decision. Since they refused to sign a statement of quitting of their own accord, they were demoted (with loss of pay) and at the same time the volume of their work was increased by 1.5 times. As was explained to them, this was done so that they would quit themselves.


On 15 May 2017, in the city of Novokubansk (Krasnodar territory), the director of a preschool summoned a worker to her office and demanded that she sign a statement of resignation "of her own accord," and the demand was explained by the fact that the woman professes the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. The believer recalled that for two years she acquitted herself as a conscientious and responsible worker, who gets along with the staff and children, and against whom the management had no complaint. Citing the Supreme Court's decision, the director said that the woman could not work in this institution any longer. The believer suffered a severe emotional disorder because of the dismissal.


Previous reports about cases of pressure at work places have come from Perm territory, Smolensk province, Tatarstan, and Crimea. After the Supreme Court's decision, pressures has also intensified on Jehovah's Witnesses' children in schools. In one case, a schoolgirl even was threatened with transfer to another form of education. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 June 2017)



Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 5 June 2017


[. . . ] On 3 April 2017, in the village of Ilinsky (Perm territory), a believer, an employee of the district administration, was summoned to the director's office for a conversation, during which she was told that as a municipal employee she did not have the right to profess the religion of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Despite that there have been no complaints regarding this woman's fulfillment of the duties of her office, she was threatened with dismissal with the impossibility of working in the public sector in the future.


On 1 May 2017, in the city of Smolensk, a woman who worked in a company serving the Federal Service of State Registration was summoned by the manager and told that another employee will take her place and she was dismissed. To the question about the reason, the manager said that this was an order of the leadership: at work it was known that she professed the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. As a result, the woman, who is raising a child alone, was left without a job.


On 4 May 2017, in the city of Elabug, Tatarstan, a believer who works in a large energy company was summoned to the police department. The woman was shocked to learn that a denunciation had been received about her in which, citing her religious faith, she was baselessly accused of intending to use her official position to "commit terrorist attacks." As a result, personnel of the company's security service demanded that the believer either renounce her religious convictions or be dismissed.


On 10 May 2017, in the city of Bakhchisary, Crimea, a woman employed by the Rospotrebnadzor was summoned to the prosecutor's office because of her religious faith. The woman refused to provide the family names of her fellow believers, as a result of which she was threatened with dismissal.


On 16 May 2017 it was reported that in Smolensk province, on orders of the FSB, a large enterprise intended to dismiss all Jehovah's Witnesses working there. The believers were advised to leave "of their own accord;" otherwise they were threatened with dismissal for cause. In a conversation with one of the believers, a factory manager reported that two FSB officers had visited him and reported to the management that "extremists" could not work in the factory, despite that these employees were very valuable. The believer refused to quit of his own accord.


The Supreme Court decision also evoked a whole wave of acts of vandalism against citizens who profess the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. Incidents occurred in St. Petersburg; Voronezh, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Penza, Rostov, Sverdlovsk, and Tula provinces; Krasnoyarsk territory; Komi; and Udmurtia. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 June 2017)


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