FECRIS – the European Federation of Research Centres against Sectarianism
“Audi 200 Quattros and caviar on cornflakes” – the right motivation for kidnapping a member of a religious minority?
This is an actual statement made a number of years ago from a convicted UK deprogrammer in anticipation of making money from kidnapping and false imprisonment (see below). The person was an executive board member of FAIR, which subsequently became one of the groups to found FECRIS. Whilst the person who made this statement emigrated to Australia after his conviction, FAIR has never denounced his activities.
The motivation of FECRIS and its member groups is an important factor in assessing and determining their suitability. Their right to freedom of expression is not the issue, provided this is not abused through the use of lies and false information.
The issue is whether or not FECRIS meets the standards of the Council of Europe and should be granted INGO (International Non-Government Organisation) status.
Particularly relevant is Resolution (2003)8 which lays down the conditions for obtaining INGO status. Of specific relevance is point 9.c of the Resolution, stating that INGOs undertake ‘to promote the respect of the Council of Europe’s standards, conventions and legal instruments in the member states, and assist in the implementation of these standards.’
According to Professor Ben Vermeulen (University of Amsterdam) “It is evident, that an organization which through its aims and purposes, or the means that it employs, acts in a way which is inconsistent with these standards should not be given INGO status. For instance the fact that an organization uses ‘deprogramming’, a technique that seems to be used by AIS/Pro Juventud – allegedly a member group of FECRIS – which according to the European Court of Human Rights is a violation of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in as far as the government is involved (14 October 1999, Ribera Blume v. Spain), is a strong argument against allowing INGO status to such an organization. Such an organization acts against the spirit of the ECHR, and thus does not live up to the aforementioned standards.”
A secondary point to take into account is whether or not the individual and group convictions and actions which are evidenced below and are contrary to Council of Europe standards, are simply the result of a few individuals “going astray” or whether these convictions are somehow inherent to the activities of FECRIS groups. Furthermore, were it to be considered that the convictions and activities below are simply the result of some individuals and groups “going astray”, the question still to be asked is whether or not FECRIS is therefore worthy of INGO status.
This presentation will show that FECRIS is the continuation of an intolerant and discriminatory ‘movement’ that began in the 1970s. It used methods at that time that were both extremist and illegal. Kidnapping and false imprisonment (deprogramming) were used and only though expediency (after various convictions for these criminal actions) did they modify their stance to become equally intolerant of minorities but less extreme in their methods.
Tolerance and dialogue are fundamental to the structure and activities of the Council of Europe. FECRIS groups have demonstrated beyond doubt that they do not encompass these principles and do not act in line with democratic standards when forwarding their campaigns.
The following convictions and actions cover not only all key FECRIS groups and/or their leaders but also two Vice-Presidents of FECRIS itself. This cannot be possibly construed as occasionally “going astray” but as something endemic to FECRIS groups. It is therefore inconceivable that FECRIS be suitable for INGO status.
The following is a summary of some key facts about FECRIS groups. Even more examples are available if needed but for the sake of space are not included here. [N.B. Reasons for opposition to FECRIS lie in the facts below. It is clear that any individual or group committing criminal acts should be prosecuted under existing laws, which are quite adequate.
[For reference, a list of FECRIS member groups is attached at the end of this document.]
Criminal and civil convictions
The following convictions all concern FECRIS member groups and/or responsible people in those groups acting in this field. These actions are completely contrary to the standards INGOs should do ‘to promote the respect of the Council of Europe’s standards, conventions and legal instruments in the member states, and assist in the implementation of these standards.’
Mr Friederich Griess – webmaster of the FECRIS web site, Vice-President of FECRIS and Board Member of Austrian FECRIS group GSK.
Mr. Griess has also been convicted for defamation a number of times against the religious group Norweger (Christian group present in over 60 countries). He made statements without any foundation such as the group were the cause of a suicide, that they have a higher suicide rate that the general population and that they caused psychological damage. Yet despite Court decisions, he still made false statements about the group on the Internet.
AIS/PRO Juventud – Spanish FECRIS group
One of the most reprehensible activities that has been utilized by certain representatives from FECRIS member groups in the past is the technique of « deprogramming » (technique that usually involves kidnapping an individual, keeping that individual against his or her will whilst getting the person to listen to negative statements about his group until he changes his mind). In 1999 a judgement issued by the European Court of Human Rights (case Nr 37680/97, Ribera Blume and others versus Spain concerning a deprogramming case) the court stated that the group AIS/Pro Juventud had a « direct and immediate responsibility for … the applicants … loss of liberty. »
Ms. Rosa-Maria Boladeras – Vice President of FECRIS
In another Spanish case, Rosa-Maria Boladeras, a responsible of AIS/PRO Juventud and later Vice-President of FECRIS, was involved with advising the parents of a Catholic was who was kidnapped. This was an attempt to deprogramme Mr. Canals and was carried out in a psychiatric hospital where he was involuntarily committed and his basic rights were violated. The incident was criticized by a Cardinal Ruiz from the Vatican who stated that there was nothing wrong with Mr. Canals’ group. When brought to trial the Spanish court ruled that: « On the pretext of a clearly non-existent mental illness an adult citizen was deprived of liberty solely for his religious beliefs, and an attempt was made to give this the appearance of legality, which constitutes a patent abuse of the law… It is evident that Mr. Santiago Canals Coma does not suffer from any type of mental illness that would justify his mental incapacitation (and to) guarantee his right to religious freedom, which is enshrined not only in Article 16 of the Constitution and especially Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights ».
Cyril Vosper – (at the time member of) FAIR, UK FECRIS group
The following deprogramming conviction shows this practice is not isolated and illustrates the early support of this movement for such activity. Cyril Vosper, at the time executive board member of FAIR, was convicted in Germany for false imprisonment and causing bodily harm. His motivation is best seen from a letter he wrote before he was convicted for his crime where he said (referring to a number of other deprogramming cases he hoped would come about) “this time next year, we’ll probably be rolling in money, Audi 200 Quattros, caviar on our cornflakes”. Whilst this occurred in 1987 it does illustrate the predisposition to such criminal activity. Vosper emigrated to Australia after this incident. He was not expelled from FAIR. Neil Dawson, FAIR Chairman at the time, later resigned in the wake of allegations that he had been holding bizarre male sex orgies at his home. Whilst Dawson’s sexual preferences are his own concern he had claimed to “counsel” young members of new religious movements, a task for which he was clearly unqualified.
Sect-info Essen –German FECRIS group
In a final judgement on 19th December 2001 by the Munich 1 State Court, Ms. Cammans, founder of Sect-info was ordered to stop telling or spreading a wide variety of falsehoods about Takar Singh (an Eastern religious group) or else they would be fined up to 500,000 DM or if not paid, they would be sentenced to jail for up to 6 months. These included such allegations as the person being a criminal, using torture on children and rape. The book they were distributing about that group was also forbidden to be sold.
SADK – Swiss FECRIS group
In 1990, two members of SADK were sentenced to prison in connection with a violent deprogramming attempt on a member of the Hare Krishna movement. Mr. Rossi, who at the time was the spokesman for SADK spoke out loudly in favour of the deprogramming, in which the victim had been subdued with tear gas, saying “We support and approve of the deed.”
UNADFI – French-language FECRIS groups (ADFI founded FECRIS)
(UNADFI is the national coalition group covering different regional groups in France, each of them called “ADFI” and the region or city name.)
Clearly demonstrative of the inclination to hateful falsehood and misrepresentation of groups and individuals of which they are speaking are a series of civil convictions in France. It is quite possible there are other instances not covered below.
1. 15th January 1997, the Douai Court of Appeal condemns Mrs. Ovigneur-Dewynter, president of ADFI Nord, for defamation regarding the Cultural Association of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in France.
2. 29th March 2002, the Marseille County Court condemns Jacky Cordonnier, member of UNADFI and FECRIS, for defamation regarding the association of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
3. 20th November 2001, the Paris County Court condemns Janine Tavernier, president of UNADFI, for public defamation regarding Daniele Gounord, Church of Scientology.
4. 5th February 2003, the Paris Court of Appeal confirms the judgment in the civil proceedings against Janine Tavernier and UNADFI (decisions of the Paris County Court of 20 November 2001).
Intolerance and Discrimination
The following are just a few examples, of which many more are available, that demonstrate the negative effects that FECRIS groups create.
FRI – Swedish FECRIS group
There is documentation supporting the group FRI having been involved in at least four deprogramming cases. However, a recent case study shows there is still no change in the basic tactics of this group. The inability to dialogue and take a tolerant approach to different groups creates the opposite effect to what FECRIS groups pretend they do.
Between June and August 2003 an adult member of a free Christian Church was wrongly incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital. First the family approached FRI members Per and Gudrun Swartling and also Pether Öhlén to get him to change the belief of their son but this was unsuccessful. (From the mid 1980s Mr. Olsen worked with the anti-sect association FRI where he was known as a deprogrammer and spoke on the radio.) As Mr. Olsen was unable to persuade the son to leave his faith his mother arranged for him to be taken into compulsory psychiatric care. He was subsequently incarcerated under the pretext of having a (contrived) psychiatric condition called « religious delusion ». Mr. Ohlen was clearly working closely with the doctors in this institution as the son was at one point given the choice of a 50% reduction in the drug that was being administered to him if he were to cooperate and « study » with Mr. Ohlen. Eventually it was arranged for an independent doctor to examine Carl-Johan. This doctor came to the conclusion that he had no psychiatric condition whatsoever and after over two months of wrongful imprisonment in a psychiatric institution, was freed from his incarceration. Had FRI counselled the parents and the son to resolve their differences focusing on principles of dialogue and tolerance then none of the above would have happened.
In 1993 raids were made on the premises of the small Christian group, « The Family » in their homes in Lyon and Marseille where over 200 police officers participated, using axes to break down doors and wielding machine guns. Parents were handcuffed and dragged away in front of their children. The authorities were responding to charges made by the French FECRIS group, ADFI. For years ADFI had, without foundation, accused « the Family » of child abuse, prostitution and various other unlawful activities. Six years after the raids, the Court of Aix-en-Provence found that none of the allegations had any grounds and threw the case out of court. All defendants were found not guilty and acquitted. ADFI never made any apology for the pain and distress they caused to these many families and never attempted to correct the false information they spread.
There are literally hundreds of testimonies available that demonstrate the effects of discrimination caused by FECRIS groups on ordinary members of small religious groups. They have had their families broken apart, lost jobs, been denied work, subjected to unacceptable scrutiny, denied business contracts, even had children refused entry into nurseries and thrown out of other children’s associations such as the girl guides. Some of these testimonies can be found on the website of CAP – www.coordiap.com.
Examples of how problems that arise between family members can be solved through dialogue and tolerance can be found with the UK group INFORM. Founded by Professor of Sociology, Eileen Barker, of the London School of Economics, this group provides objective and balanced information about a wide range of religious groups and encourages anyone calling their help service to resolve differences through open communication and understanding of the other – not by trying to split the parties apart. This group is supported by the British government.
Statements by FECRIS groups members opposing the Council of Europe’ human rights stance
It is revealing to see statements made by key figures in or behind the FECRIS movement. These statements are not reasoned views aligned with the Council of Europe’s principles of tolerance, dialogue and non-discrimination. Unfortunately, they are quite the opposite.
Roger Ikor, founder of French FECRIS group CCMM.
In a book called « The Rationalists Book » he stated, amongst other things
« I now take up the subject of indoctrination. Let us firstly consider that a person is visionary, this is not enough to create a sect, or rather, it is not enough to make it prosper. The intervention of a crafty person is normally needed. Moses has been flanked by Aaron. Jesus Christ was exploited by St Paul (after his death, but it does not matter). Mohammed presents another type of figure to us; he found the way himself to put together being visionary and crafty. Hitler also, by the way. Yes, there is no difference in the nature, or rather the principles between a sect or a religion. There is only a difference in degree and dimensions between a sect and a religion. If we are listening to ourselves, we would stop all this nonsense regarding sects, but also the major religions. »
Roger Ikor also said the following to a newspaper: « We must destroy the sects who proliferate on our decay. When enough people will destroy the premises of sects, they (the authorities) maybe will move. »
Mr Friederich Griess – webmaster of the FECRIS web site, Vice-President of FECRIS and Board Member of Austrian FECRIS group GSK.
In a book “mein Kind ist sektenhorig” he states:
« Sect-people are 80 percent primitive and stupid persons » and « The people there are becoming more and more stupid and it is easy to realize from one hundred meters that they belong to a sect »
Yves Damon – founder of French FECRIS group
The founder of French group ADFI Angers sent an anonymous fax (to which he later acknowledged being the originator) to two members of a religious group saying “The purpose is to fight against all those of you who have perverted spirituality for the purpose of profit and degradation of human dignity… it contains important messages regarding … the disappearance by any means of sacrilegious cult. The next message will be the last before execution of our great work.” One of the recipients was a pregnant woman who was seriously disturbed by the death threat. In later correspondence with officials he tried to present this as a joke.
The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly passed a resolution concerning religious minorities (Doc 1412). The report supporting this resolution disclaimed the pejorative use of the word “sect” (Doc. 8373, 13 April 1999 – Of course, it is clear that it is very tempting for state authorities to use the term « sect », given that it is easily understood by everyone. However, state authorities would be well advised to forgo using this term since there is no legal definition of it and it has an excessively pejorative connotation. In the public mind today, a sect is extremely evil or dangerous”). The Council of Ministers have also called for pluralism and tolerance (see references below).
Yet, the use of the word sect is broadly used by FECRIS in their document « Meeting of European Lawyers June 9, 2001 ». Throughout the whole text (see www.fecris.org) of seven pages the word appears more than 60 times. The word is used in a derogatory sense and is purposefully meant to label any group or individual they chose to identify as a “sect” as somehow harmful or dangerous. As stated above, there is no scientific or legal definition of this word as used by FECRIS – it is solely a means to categorize people derogatorily and discriminate against them.
SADK – Swiss FECRIS group
In 1995 a complaint was filed against Ms Bates, SADK member because she was distributing “death’s head” stickers to children in schools. Mr. Roth, the person complaining, a member of the Church of Scientology, had a son in the school where Ms. Bates was giving a lecture and afterwards his car was covered in stickers and smeared with animal dung, the antenna torn off, four fenders were dented and the bonnet was damaged. This kind of result is not uncommon after statements have been made against religious groups and their members.
In 1993, one of their members was accused of anti-semitic statements and defamation in a book he wrote against Freemasons. This was later settled out of court. In a later article, 27 April 1999, that same man recommended that all “para-religious associations register themselves with the trade registry and that their accounting be controlled regularly by the State”.
Compare these with statements from the United Nations and the Council of Europe
The United Nations, religious experts, and UN treaty-based bodies have consistently found that the expression « religion or belief, » as well as the individual terms « religion » and « belief, » must be construed broadly to include non-traditional religions and all forms of belief. This was the opinion articulated in two studies prepared by the first two Special Rapporteurs on freedom of religion of the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, and expressly confirmed in the Working Paper, drafted by the third Special Rapporteur.
Likewise, the Human Rights Committee, in its General Comment No. 22 on Art. 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, notes that:
« Article 18 protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. The terms belief and religion are to be broadly construed. Article 18 is not limited in its application to traditional religions or to religions and beliefs with institutional characteristics or practices analogous to those of traditional religions. The Committee therefore views with concern any tendency to discriminate against any religion or belief for any reason, including the fact that they are newly established, or represent religious minorities that may be the subject of hostility by a predominant religious community. » (Para. 2)
The Committee goes on to find that:
« The fact that a religion is recognized as a State religion or that it is established as official or traditional or that its followers comprise the majority of the population, shall not result in the impairment of the enjoyment of any of the rights under the Covenant, including articles 18 [freedom of thought, conscience and religion] and 27 [protection of minorities], nor in any discrimination against adherents of other religions or non-believers. In particular, certain measures discriminating against the latter, such as measures restricting eligibility for government service to members of the predominant religion or giving economic privileges to them or imposing special restrictions on the practice of other faiths, are not in accordance with the prohibition of non-discrimination based on religion or belief and the guarantee of equal protection under article 26 . . . « (Para. 9)
Moreover, the 1996 Annual Report by the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance to the United Nations Human Rights Commission provides the Rapporteur’s opinion on the broad scope of the term religion and the need for equal treatment of all religions, including so called «sects». The Special Rapporteur notes that:
« Religions cannot be distinguished from sects on the basis of quantitative considerations saying that a sect, unlike a religion, has a small number of followers. This is in fact not always the case. It runs absolutely counter to the principle of respect and protection of minorities, which is upheld by domestic and international law and morality. Besides, following this line of argument, what are the major religions if not successful sects? »
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« Again, one cannot say that sects should not benefit from the protection given to religion just because they have no chance to demonstrate their durability. History contains many examples of dissident movements, schisms, heresies and reforms that have suddenly given birth to religions or religious movements. » As to governmental efforts to distinguish between religions and sects, the Rapporteur concludes that: « All in all, the distinction between a religion and a sect is too contrived to be acceptable. A sect that goes beyond simple belief and appeals to a divinity, or at the very least, to the supernatural the transcendent, the absolute, or the sacred, enters into the religious sphere and should enjoy the protection afforded to religions. »
Council of Europe
On 19 September 2001, the Committee of Ministers issued its Replies to Recommendation 1412 and Recommendation 1396 (Docs. 9220 and 9215 adopted at the 765th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies).
The Committee stated that “governments are under an obligation, in their dealings with such groups [of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature], to remain in conformity not only with Article 9 but with all the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and other relevant instruments protecting the dignity inherent to all human beings and their equal and inalienable rights. This entails, inter alia, a duty to respect the principles of religious freedom and non-discrimination”.
In accordance with this principle, the Committee notes that: « legal measures in this area should be applied vis-à-vis illegal practices carried out in the name and by such groups, using ordinarily available procedures of criminal and civil law (Paragraph 10 iii of the recommendation).”
“freedom of thought, conscience and religion is of vital importance for the identity of believers and their conception of life, but is also equally important for atheists, agnostics, sceptics and the unconcerned; it includes the right to hold or not to hold religious beliefs, to practice or not to practice a religion and to change one’s religion or belief;”
“religious pluralism is an inherent feature of the notion of a democratic society and thus a key reference for determining whether or not a restriction on religious freedom is acceptable under paragraph 2 of Article 9 of the Convention; states are entitled to take action within the law if it becomes clear that a movement or association carries on, ostensibly in pursuit of religious aims, activities which are harmful to the population and contrary to the law (cf. also, as regards abuse of rights, Article 17 of the Convention) but the fundamental principles must be religious freedom and, in criminal law, the presumption of innocence;”
“where religious pluralism gives rise to religious divisions, with attendant tensions, the public authorities’ response should not be to eliminate religious pluralism, but to strive to ensure that the various groups respect each other. »
“distinctions based essentially on religion alone are not acceptable – and that the freedom enshrined in Article 9 of the Convention is guaranteed not only to citizens, but to all persons within the jurisdiction of the Contracting States.”
Support of dubious causes
AGPF – German FECRIS group
The German FECRIS member AGPF, represented by its leading member Ingo Heinemann, board member of FECRIS, has publicly announced on the internet that the criteria of « discrimination against religion » should be excluded from the national implementation of the European Directive on Equal Treatment in Employment (2000/43/EG, 2000/78/EG), as it could be « misused » (documentation on this can be seen on AGPFs homepage).
Another member group of AGPF, Forum Critical Psychology, is lead by Colin Goldner has an anti-religious attitude which he communicates about through his homepage. In one of their pages, they show Christian, Islamic and Jewish symbols together with a nazi-swastika, and they throw it all in the garbage. Other statements of Goldner included that he supports the idea of “zero-tolerance towards irrational elements”.
SADK – Swiss FECRIS group
An example of what could be expected if FECRIS were to participate in the creation of legislation can be seen in a letter that SADK sent to politicians. They called for laws to be made that would make it possible to isolate “sect” members for up to 30 days by taking them away from their group against their will. Such kinds of laws, based on disagreement with the faith of another human being, are completely against the standards of the Council of Europe and a democratic society.
CCMM – French FECRIS group
Their support of China’s repressive policy against religious groups is implicit and condemnable. Representatives of CCMM attended an “anti-sect” conference in Beijing in November 2000. On their return, CCMM published a newsletter with two pages of propaganda from the Chinese authorities on the persecuted religious group Falun Gong, “explaining” why Falun Gong is a “sect » and giving support to the Chinese government’s position against “sects”.
This visit in China occurred after extensive persecution by the Chinese government of religious minorities had been made public. Members of the Falun Gong had already been murdered, tortured, jailed and placed in psychiatric hospitals without committing any “crime” other than practicing their religion. These abuses were strongly protested by most Western countries and by leading human rights organizations because of their extent and brutality, yet there was no condemnation of these events by FECRIS, nor by CCMM – just the publication of Chinese government propaganda and their involvement in a conference against “sects”.
The (infamous) About-Picard ‘”anti-religious” law was adopted in France due, in part, to actions of the French FECRIS group members This was unashamedly attested to on the FECRIS website in the report of the meeting of European Lawyers on 9 June – www.fecris.org. This law has been criticized by human rights groups such as the International Helsinki Federation and most recently the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which concluded in Resolution 1309 (2002) Freedom of Religion and Religious Minorities in France that “The Assembly invites the French government to reconsider this law and to clarify the definition of the terms “offence” and “offender”.” and “called on the governments of member states “to use the normal procedures of criminal and civil law against illegal practices carried out in the name of groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual nature.”
Academic and legal expertise
A final note should be provided on the real experts in this field. The vast majority of legal human rights experts, theologians, sociologists and other academics that have researched the field of religion have roundly condemned the approach taken by FECRIS groups – the “anti-cult movement” as it is generally called.
An example of a constructive way of dealing with problems relating to membership in a religious movement has already been given – that of highly respected Sociologist, Professor Eileen Barker. In establishing the UK group INFORM she provided a model where dialogue and tolerance are the central principles used in resolving a conflict. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that she comes under criticism from FECRIS groups.
In 1998 a Swedish government commission completed a report “In Good Faith: Society and the New Religious Movements” in which they stated “The main conclusion drawn by the Swedish Commission from several visits to organisations in other countries acting within the sphere of new religious movements is that nothing should done to augment disagreement between these movements and the rest of the community. On the contrary, society should help to bring about a dialogue between all parties concerned.”
More recently, in February 2004, Finnish academic, Professor Juha Pentikainen of the University of Helsinki called upon all Scandinavian countries to act to bring about more because they are more open countries with regards to religious issues in Europe and because of this, they should take the lead and be the examples for other less opened countries.
Professor Anson Shupe and Susan E. Darnell, both from America, have studied in detail the anti-cult movement in the United States and traced connections with its European counterparts. In a study titled “Agents of Discord: The North American – European Anticult Connection” they show an extensive network of connections between the two sides of the Atlantic. Notably, the US anti-cult movement has dwindled to almost nothing after the main groups and protagonists were either convicted for kidnapping and violence (such as Ted Patrick and Rick Ross) or else their group went into decline or bankruptcy (such as the Cult Awareness Network which had to file for bankruptcy after members of the group were found guilty for being involved in a deprogramming and were obliged to pay extensive damages to the victim).
A large body of information on this subject can be found on the website of the Centre for the Study of New Religions – www.cesnur.org.
Internationally renowned scholars such as Professor Mikael Rothstein from Copenhagen University and Dr. Bryan Wilson Professor Emeritus of Oxford University, all agree that anti-cult groups exaggerate and do not give a true picture of the groups they call sects. Such false alerts can and do have devastating effects for individual members and groups that are targeted.
Post Office Box Groups
While FECRIS claim that they represent different associations from across Europe, a number of these groups are nothing more than “post office boxes” as they are small and have barely anyone working for them to need an office. Just as likely, they have no work to do that would necessitate the need for them to have an office in the first place. Whatever the reason, they barely exist.
For example, Sektenberatung Bremen do not have an office and its members only meet once every three months.
EGMR. No office is found at the stated address and there was no report on their activities for a number of years.
AGPF. At the address given by FECRIS there is a Legal Counsel office.
ADFI Swiss do not have an office, just a post box.
The status of other groups is not known but as FECRIS was already rejected due to not having adequate members, the question arises as to whether they are “padding” their size to blind the Council of Europe by listing “ghost groups”.
In a letter to “Friends and Colleagues” dated 18 May 1993, Jacques Richard, provisionary secretary of ADFI-Sarthe wrote about the formation of a European international confederation saying, “We also used a model generally agreed by the ECC, as we firmly hope to get some subsidies from it.” (The document was obtained through the publicly available files of the former Cult Awareness Network – CAN – who were communicating with ADFI at the time and whose files were made public after CAN was declared bankrupt following an abortive deprogramming of a member of the Christian religion.)
Also of interest is a letter that ADFI-Sarthe wrote on February 1st 1994 to their members stating that Mrs Coin, at the time assistant of Mrs. C. Lalumiere, General Secretary of the Council of Europe, had encouraged ADFI to set up an NGO. [Mr. Coin is now the head of secretariat of the Legal Affairs Committee.]
List of member groups of FECRIS
FECRIS – Féderation Européeane des Centres de Recherche et d’Information sur le Sectarisme
– Aktion für Geistige und Psychische Freiheit e.V., Germany
A.I.S. – Asesoramiento e Información sobre Sectas, Spain
A.R.I.S. – Associazione per la Ricerca e l’Informazione sulle Sette, Italy
A.S.D.F.I. – Association Suisse de Défense des Familles et de l’Individu, Switzerland
C.C.M.M. – Centre de documentation, d’éducation et d’action Contre les Manipulations Mentales,
C.I.C. – Cult Information Centre, United Kingdom
C.I.G.S. – Contacts et Informations sur les Groupes Sectaires, Belgium
E.G.M.R. – Niedersächsische Elterninitiative gegen den Mißbrauch der Religion, Germany
F.A.I.R. – Family Action Information Resource, United Kingdom
F.R.I. – Förening Rädda Individen, Sweden
G.E.M.P.P.I. – Groupe d’étude des movements de pensée en vue de la prévention des individus,
G.S.K. – Gesellschaft gegen Sekten- und Kultgefahren, Austria
P.F.A. – Polish Family Association, Poland
S.A.D.K. – Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft gegen destruktive Kulte, Switzerland
Sektenberatung Bremen, Germany
Sekten-Info Essen, Germany
U.N.A.D.F.I. – Union nationale des Associations pour la Défense des Familles et de l’Individu, France
V.V.P.G. – Vereniging ter Verdediging van Persoon en Gezin, Belgium