This statement from the NGO CAP Liberté de Conscience raises concerns about stigmatization, intolerance and hate speech towards religious minorities in Europe, often labeled pejoratively as “cults” or “sects”. It argues this phenomenon is fueled by anti-cult movements, sensationalist media coverage, and government bodies like France’s Miviludes that work with anti-cult associations.

The statement claims anti-cult activists make unfounded accusations that certain religious groups are “dangerous”, which then get amplified by media sensationalism. Some governments then take measures against these groups based on misinformation. This creates a climate of hostility that can lead to hate crimes against minority religions and their members.

Specific examples are given of vandalism, threats, harassment and discrimination faced by groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Scientology, as well as women being targeted for involvement in minority faiths. The French government’s relationship with anti-cult groups like FECRIS is criticized. The statement calls for more transparency from Miviludes, an end to government funding of anti-cult associations, and open dialogue with all religious minorities.

HRC 55 Written Statement Stigmatization and Hate Crimes Against Religious Minorities in Europe


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