2006 Upholding the Rule of Law and Due Process in Criminal Justice Systems: Violations of the Right to Equal Protection and Non-Discrimination in Matters Relating to Religion in France and Belgium.
The principles of equal protection and non-discrimination under the law are fundamental components of the rule of law. They ensure that all laws are applied uniformly and objectively, regardless of race, religion, gender, culture or minority status. These principles form a critical foundation to the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings.
OSCE participating States have committed themselves to adhering to the principles of equal protection and non-discrimination in the administration of criminal justice.
2007 HRWF OSCE working session 4 Freedon of Thought, conscience, religion or belief : Miviludes
In France, public measures of vigilance and fight against so-called sectarian deviations still target numerous movements and persons on the ground of their religious beliefs. Despite the circular of 27 May 2005 of PM Raffarin, some administrations specifically repress groups which are mentioned on the list of sects/cults publicized by the first parliamentary enquiry commission in 1995.
2008 Institute on Religion and Public Policy Report: Religious Freedom in France
In France, the freedom to practice religion and protection against discrimination based on religion is written in its constitution. However, France is facing a grave immigration problem from North Africa and the Middle East that is challenging the tolerance level of France’s traditional homogeneous society. Many of these immigrants immigrating to France are Muslims. There is a relatively large amount of violent acts that are targeted at the rising level of Muslims and established Jewish community in the country. In addition to suffering societal backlash to their developing and established communities, Jews and Muslims must also violate their religious beliefs in order to comply with the new Headscarf Law. Needless to say, both religious minorities, in addition to other religions, are thus subject to violations of their religious freedom on a daily basis.
2008 Toughening up religious discrimination in France
With the appointment of Georges Fenech as a Chairman on October 1st 2008, -veteran activist against religious minorities-, the MIVILUDES takes the opposite direction to the recommendations of the Special UN Rapporteur. Actually Mr Fenech refuses any dialogue with religious minorities that he labels beforehand as sectarian movements. Interviewed on June 8 2007 on Sud Radio on his serious allegations against the political party « La France en Action » which he accused of undercover work and financing for cults, he refused to talk to the chairman of the party and stated:
2009 France – The inadequate and irresponsible fight against sectarian abuse
– An inadequate and irresponsible stand – The use of such allegations to denigrate legitimate spiritual movements and research has no place in a society that claims to be a democracy. Asma Jahangir, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief at UN, mentioned after visiting France in September 2005, “a climate of general suspicion and intolerance” 3 . This climate is the consequence of a thirty-year policy led today by MIVILUDES 4 (the French inter-ministerial mission to monitor and combat sectarian abuse under the supervision of the Prime Minister) and a fraction of members of Parliament 5. While it is true that the Ministry of the Interior has adopted a much more balanced approach 6 and, through its influence, does succeed in moderating MIVILUDES policy, the overall tone is dictated by the inter ministerial mission. An intimidating arsenal has been put in place in terms of communication in the media, documentation, organization and legal provisions 7. Despite discourse offering emphasis on secular values and the respect of freedom of conscience , the French public authorities’ actions against sectarian abuse are inadequate and irresponsible. We 8 therefore propose a critical review, as specified below.
But the Interministerial Mission of Watch and Fight against Sectarian Deviation (MIVILUDES), a French governmental body directly under the Prime Minister, has established under the impulse of its new President Mr Georges Fenech, who arrived on post in September 2008, a new system of files on groups it accuses of sectarian deviations. In an interview given to the newspaper Libération on 3 August 2009, Mr Fenech indicated he has “listed around 500 movements or practices” and established files on groups characterized as “dangerous” on the sole basis of denunciations or complaints.
2009 Religious Discrimination in France
On 19 September 2008, Prime Minister Fillon appointed Mr. Georges Fenech, former Magistrate and suspended Member of Parliament, as President of MIVILUDES (the Inter-Ministerial Mission of Vigilance to Fight against Sectarian Drifts). MIVILUDES is an inter-ministerial government entity under the Prime Minister tasked to collect information on religious movements and inform the public about the « risks of sectarian deviances ». MIVILUDES is composed of a President, a Secretary General with a task force of twelve officials assigned from government ministries, an Executive Committee composed of 18 government officials from nine ministries, and an Advisory Council composed of eight members of Parliament, eight associations, and 14 “experts”.
2010 Discrimination in France: The Policy of MIVILUDES Contravenes European Court of Human Rights’ Findings
The French Interministerial Mission of Vigilance and Fight against Sectarian Deviances (MIVILUDES) has adopted and implemented a policy of repression of religious minorities which is in contravention of international human rights instruments, in particular the Helsinki Accords standards on freedom of religion and non-discrimination in matters relating to religion and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention) as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.