JOINT STATEMENT OF 36 PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS IN DEFENSE OF RUSSIAN JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 25 January 2019
On 24 January 2019, a "Joint Statement about Freedom of Religious Confession in Russia," prepared by 36 organizations from 18 countries of the world, was published. The rights advocates call the government of Russia immediately and unconditionally to free all imprisoned Jehovah's Witnesses and to drop from them the charge of extremism.
As noted in the declaration, besides criminal prosecution, believers are subjected to armed searches, disruption of worship services, firings, and refusal of the right to alternative service. In addition, the state is confiscating liturgical buildings of Jehovah's Witnesses. The statement speaks individually about foreigners being held in custody, Dennis Christensen and Anzhe Onishuk.
The joint statement was prepared under the auspices of the "Civil Solidarity" platform and signed by nongovernmental organizations of Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Germany, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Latvia, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, U.SA., Ukraine, Switzerland, and Sweden. Among the Russian organizations that signed the statement are the SOVA Center for News and Analysis and the Memorial society.
Earlier the widespread violation of the rights of believers was spoken about in a joint appeal of prominent public figures of Russia, the Council on Human Rights under the president of the Russian Federation, and also the president of Russia. (tr. by PDS, posted 25 January 2019)
An English translation of the statement is posted at the website of Civic Solidarity: "Joint statement on the freedom to religion or belief in Russia."
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