Activities of sects

Motion for a Recommendation

Doc. 7826

2 May 1997

presented by Mr NASTASE and others


This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it



1.The Assembly refers to its Recommendation 1178 (1992) on sects and new religious movements in which, while not giving a definition of "sects" or "religions", it considered that the freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights made major legislation on sects undesirable, since such legislation might well interfere with this fundamental right and harm traditional religions.


2.It did, however, recommend a number of educational measures to inform young people especially about established religions and to inform the general public about the nature and activities of sects.


3.It advocated the setting-up of independent bodies to collect and circulate this information. It further recommended the introduction of legislation granting corporate status to properly registered sects.


4.Five years after the adoption of this text, the recommendations it contains, some of which have been reiterated by national committees of inquiry, are still valid, but seem inadequate when it comes to combatting the aberrations of some sects, which place their followers in great jeopardy.


5. In fact, the number of sectarian activities which have seriously disturbed the public order have increased steadily: group "suicides" or killings, children who have died from neglect or who receive no education, rape by gurus, accusations of fraudulent practices, to mention only the gravest examples.


6.This has led several member states' parliaments to set up committees of inquiry which have submitted proposals designed to curb the spread of sects.


7.The Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights invited all the rapporteurs of these committees of inquiry and experts on the subject to a recent hearing. This hearing showed that it was necessary to take action throughout Europe.


8. The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers

  1. propose to member states the adoption of measures aimed at fighting dangerous activities by some sects;

  2. set up an observatory of activities by sects at European level.



Signed: (1)

Nāstase, Romania, SOC

Akįalš, Turkey, EDG

Antretter, Germany, SOC

Bartodziej, Poland, EPP

Bindig, Germany, SOC

Clerfayt, Belgium, LDR

Columberg, Switzerland, EPP

Err, Luxembourg, SOC

Hagård, Sweden, EDG

Hegyi, Hungary, SOC

Jansson, Finland, LDR

Maximus, Belgium, SOC

Ruffy, Switzerland, SOC

Solonari, Moldova, SOC

Spahia, Albania, EPP

Urbain, Belgium, SOC

Note: 1SOC: Socialist Group

EPP: Group of the European People's Party

EDG: European Democratic Group

LDR: Liberal, Democratic and Reformers Group

UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

NR: Not registered