FOREF Europe Reports to the UN Human Rights Committee
VIENNA, 23.12.2014 (FOREF) – The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe filed this report on cases of violations of the freedom of religion in Austria and sent it to the UN Human Rights Committee for further investigation. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) will host its 113th session from 16 March until 02 April 2015 in Geneva, in which the Country Report Task Forces will consider issues on Austria among other countries.
Note (25.12.2014): After this post was released, the website of HRWF, an international human rights organization, has been hacked by a professional team based in France and taken down from the internet. Therefore, the link to the PDF-File that contained the extensive scientific study on FECRIS will be temporarily dysfunctional.
1. Brief information about FOREF Europe
The Forum for Religious Freedom Europe is an independent, secular, nongovernmental organization based in Vienna. FOREF Europe was founded in 2005 by the internationally recognized jurist and expert on freedom of religion Professor Christian Bruenner, who served as Dean of the School of Law and Rector of Graz University and also in the Austrian Parliament, and human rights activist Peter Zoehrer.
FOREF’s website (www.religionsfreiheit.at) was initiated in 1998 “out of necessity”, since the government has just introduced two new laws, severely curtailing the rights of religious minority groups: First, the establishment of a “federal sect observatory office” (Bundesstelle für Sektenfragen) and second, the introduction of a law for “confessional communities”.
FOREF Europe regularly reports to the media, OSCE, US-State Department, Human Rights Without Frontiers and various other human rights organizations on religious freedom violations in Austria and other countries. FOREF Europe has established an international scientific board of experts as well as an interdenominational religious board. Since its establishment, FOREF Europe has achieved a number of important victories in helping victims of religious intolerance to gain respect for their rights and vindicated from injustice, discrimination or persecution. FOREF Europe’s Facebook community numbers over 1000 members.
In 2014, FOREF Europe named international human rights activist Dr. Aaron Rhodes president. Recent actions have included, inter alia, a successful campaign against a discriminatory resolution in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; a critical analysis of Hungary’s religion law presented to the OSCE; a critical analysis of the decision by the European Court of Human Rights to uphold France’s ban on the burqa; a detailed report on actions by German authorities against a minority Christian group; and an analysis of Austria’s proposed law on Islam.