Doc. 9565

24 September 2002

Violations of religious freedom in the Russian Federation

Written declaration No 340

This written declaration commits only the members who have signed it

The undersigned, members of the Assembly,

are witnessing escalating violations of religious freedom in the Russian Federation.

On 10 September 2002, Father Edward Mackiewicz of Rostov was prevented from returning to his parish. He is the fifth Catholic priest refused entry to the Russian Federation without any official explanation within the last six months. State authorities have sent back from the borders of the Russian Federation: Bishop Jerzy Mazur from Irkutsk, Father Stefano Caprio from Vladimir, Father Stanislav Krajakow from Yaroslavl and Father Jaroslaw Wisniewski from Sakhalin.

These acts are in violation of Article 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and can be seen in the wider context of a wide-spread anti-Catholic campaign which is taking place in the Russian Federation with demonstrations, the refusal of permits to build churches, acts of vandalism and profanation of places of worship.

The principal victims of the persecution are not the expelled priests, but Russian citizens whose Constitution guarantees the same freedom of worship to believers of all denominations.

Signed (see overleaf)

Signed : 1

Libicki, Poland, EDG

Aguiar, Portugal, EPP

Andican, Turkey, EDG

BŁchel, Liechtenstein, EPP

Cabrnoch, Czech Republic, EDG

Cerrahoğlu, Turkey, EDG

Chapman, United Kingdom, EDG

Giertych, Poland, EDG

Grzesik, Poland, EPP

Hladiy, Ukraine, EDG

Hooper, United Kingdom, EDG

Janowski, Poland, EPP

Knight, United Kingdom, EDG

Kostenko, Ukraine, EDG

Kroll, Poland, EPP

Kvakkestad, Norway, EDG

Landsbergis, Lithuania, EPP

Malgieri, Italy, EDG

Mintas-Hodak, Croatia, EPP

Mulas, Italy, EDG

Ouzkż, Czech Republic, EDG

Pellicini, Italy, EDG

Posada, Spain, EPP

Reymann, France, NR

Rybak, Ukraine, EDG

Schneider, France, NR

Schreiner, France, EDG

Smorawiński, Poland, EPP

Tevdoradze, Georgia, EDG

Topalli, Albania, EPP

van der Linden, Netherlands, EPP

Wielowieyski, Poland, EPP

Wilkinson, United Kingdom, EDG

___________________________

Total = 33


1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: 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 in a group