Report about FECRIS’ working conference an 3 december 2000 in Paris
On this day, members of FECRIS, which actually includes 30 organisations from 20 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Roumania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraina, United Kingdom) and one extra-European country (Argentina) met for a working conference. At this occasion, president Jean Nokin (Belgium) said:
«For the past 15 to 20 years, those that I call the "pioneers" are gradually and with effectiveness making public opinion and the authorities aware of the existence of destructive cults.
Because one of their close relatives had fallen into a cult, these "pioneers", actually found themselves confronted with mental manipulations and exposed this « journey without return and recourse». Its an experience which must have been lived to be fully understood. At that time one dealt with individual problems in particular.
The results are concrete and we can congratulate those pioneer associations that, with such limited resources, they succeeded in stopping to a certain extent, the exponential development of cults and began to develop general awareness of cults.
As time went on, the debate widened and became distorted according to the religious or philosophical convictions of one or the other, often too according to individual interests.
This evolution logically caused sociologists, academics, philosophers and other intellectuals to consider whether it was fair to point accusing fingers at certain cults and their gurus.
Serious analyses were published that made it possible better to understand the phenomenon and suggested that the "pioneers" should adopt a more scientific approach. Unfortunately many of these intellectuals, did not want to know the dramatic reality and their reasoning remained painfully theoretical and, therefore, dangerous.
Several States of Western Europe could thus take measure of the danger and gradually organised themselves to deal with the legal, social, political and economic aspects of the problem. The matter became a problem of society, albeit a problem of relations between States.
Unfortunately, to this day important European and world organisations such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, UNO, OSCE…, often infiltrated by cults, manifest a timid reserve in the face of this serious problem of society.
In the majority of the Eastern European countries, this awareness by the respective governments is far from obvious; associations there are often still pioneers of the first hour. All the more as the cults, harassed in the West migrate towards the East.
On the basis of these observations and recognising the role played by the associations role that they still continue to play efficiently, we will define the role of FECRIS.
The Bureau is working to obtain the recognition FECRIS by these organisations (COE: December 2001, UNO: June 2001, the European Parliament and the European Commission: work on a European legal space could open certain doors.)
At this level, I would like decentralisation: associations should have the systematic reflex to inform the whole network. It is the main reason of this meeting: to make the members and correspondents meet, exchange their addresses and associate, thereafter a face will be attached to the addresses.
Activity against sectarianism must be directed against recruitment under influence and its effects resulting in loss of individual freedom of thought, coercive conditioning, and loss of personality of the individual.
It also aims to help the States in its role of prevention against the dangers of destabilisation of democracy, harm to the social fabric and the economy.
Its aim is quite simply to position itself against persons or entities that break the law by trading in beliefs .and making use of destructive mind control techniques.
That is what FECRIS has to be, far from religious considerations behind which the cults try to confine us. We are not there to attack or to defend such or such belief, our only state of mind should be that of respect for Man and the law. To this end our action must be pragmatic without however being unaware of the evolution and the diversity of cultures. Let us not remain confined, where the cults want to push us, i.e. attached to an old fashioned view of matters.»
Our activities in 1999 and 2000
The Paris Conference in 1999 made possible for some 250 people (27 associations) to meet, make contacts, exchange information and views. This conference is a reference for FECRIS and helps us in the various steps that we undertake.
Request for advisory statute with the Council of Europe following the conclusions of the report of the "Commission for legal questions and humans right", Chaired by Mr Adrian Nastase. Let us recall that this report proposed the creation of an "European Observatory on cults".
Our candidature for advisory status was not retained at first reading as we represented only 10 European countries among the 41 member States of the Council of Europe. However, we obtained the assurance that we would be consulted when this observatory was created. The decision to set up this observatory has still not been taken by the Council of Ministers of the COE.
Development of our European representativeness by the creation of a statute of "correspondent" allowing the constitution of a network of 21 countries representing 30 associations.
New submission of our candidature to the Council of Europe pointing out the enlargement of our representative cover.
Submission of our candidature asking for the statute of NGO with UNO. The candidature was deposited in June 2000 for decision an the beginning of 2001.
Creation of the FECRIS Internet site (www.fecris.org).
Request to be invited to participate in the conference organised by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)°: "Implementation Meeting on Human Dimension Issues". The latter organisation (MEP) "omitted" to follow-up our request.
Follow-up of relations with the various Missions or national Information centres such as the Interdepartmental Mission to fight against cults" in Paris (MILS), the Belgian "Opinion and Information Centre on Harmful Sectarian Organisations " (CIAOSN) and contacts with the government’s "Cellule administrative de coordination de la lutte contre les organisations sectaires nuisibles", the "Bundesstelle für Sektenfragen" in Austria, the cell responsible for the follow-up of the problems of cults in Poland, etc…
Participation, in the AFF Conferences in Minneapolis in 1999 and in Seattle in 2000.
First contact with European parliamentarians interested in our projects.
Realisation of the FECRIS publicity file explaining our ethics.
Participation in the conference organised by the Chinese Association for the Promotion of the International Friendship in Beijing.
Dialogue and coordination re: various international files of which some are still being researched i.e. IVI (Invitation à la Vie intense France), SHY (Spiritual Human Yoga , formerly HUE), Wankmiller, Saï Baba, etc.
Participation in the realisation of television broadcasts.
And finally, our current project of preparation recommendations in relation with sectarian problems to be submitted to the European authorities and organisations within the framework of a European legal Area.