Asbl - National Registration Number: 473809960 Associated member of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights,
Avenue Winston Churchill 11/33, 1180 Brussels, Belgium, Phone: + 32 2 3456145 - Fax: + 32 2 3437491,
"Religious Intolerance and Discrimination"
Bomb under the Sect Observatory
June 20, 2006, Belga press agency and several Flemish newspapers (De Morgen, De
Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad) echoed the decision of the Appellate Court of
Brussels in the case Sahaja Yoga v. the Belgian State.
De Morgen (20.06.2006) / HRWF Int. (20.06.2006) / Website: http://www.hrwf.org - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - The spiritual movement Sahaja Yoga has won a preliminary injunction against the Information and Advisory Center on Harmful Sectarian Organizations (IACSSO).
The Brussels Court of Appeal
convicts the federal "sect observatory", and therefore the authorities, because
of its lack of objectivity in its bi-annual report and violation of its
statutory duty of motivation. The verdict opens the door to further court cases
against the center by (supposed) sects.
In its bi-annual report, the IACSSO stigmatized last year the non-profit organization Sahaja Yoga as a harmful organization. The report made mention of misleading recruitment, xenophobia, antisemitism and a danger to children. Sahaja Yoga initiated juridical proceedings accordingly because they considered that the report was unfair.
"The center has condemned us without evidence", says a member of the movement who wishes to remain anonymous because of possible consequences at the company where he works. "It never wanted to hear our side of the story, nor did it want to take into consideration the verdict in Paris where the movement was cleared. We had no other choice but to go to court to clear our name."
The Belgian Sect Observatory sentenced
for its advice on Sahaja Yoga
HRWF Int. (20.06.2006) / Website: http://www.hrwf.org - Email: email@example.com - On Monday June 12, 2006, the Appellate Court of Brussels issued an emergency ruling (Ref. AR nr 2005/KR/420) against the Belgian state, which bears the legal liability on behalf of Information and Advisory Center on Harmful Sectarian Organizations (CIAOSN/IACSSO), against which the religious non-profit association Sahaja Yoga had filed a complaint.
Sahaja Yoga started the
procedure in the aftermath of the advice delivered by the CIAOSN/IACSSO to the
City of Ghent in which Sahaja Yoga was wrongly presented as a harmful sectarian
organization. The Appellate Court sentenced the CIAOSN/IACSSO because its advice
was insufficiently motivated and lacked objectivity. Consequently, the CIAOSN/IACSSO
must say explicitly on its website that its advice drafted on 7th March 2005 and
posted in August 2005 does not mean that Sahaja Yoga is a harmful sectarian
organization, and must also post the court decision by 6th July 2006. A penalty
of 500 EUR per day is provided for in case of non-compliance. Moreover, it must
send a rectification note to all the addressees of the report.
On April 7, 2006, the 9th Chamber of the Appellate Court of Brussels ruled in the case of the Belgian Anthroposophic Society and others v. the French Community of Belgium that the French Community had wrongly qualified the anthroposophy a dangerous sect in the brochure "Gourou, gare ŕ toi" which had been widely distributed since 1999 to public schools, libraries, police stations, and so on.
On June 1, 2006, the Cassation Court of Brussels ruled that the Appellate Court of Brussels which had sentenced last year the Belgian House of Representatives on the grounds that it had damaged the image of an organization blacklisted in the report published in 1997 by the parliamentary inquiry commission on sects had overstepped the limits of its power because it had breached the collective parliamentary immunity of the sect commission.
Editor-in-chief: Willy Fautré Website: http://www.hrwf.net Email: firstname.lastname@example.org