Freedom of Religion and Belief: Problems and Perspectives

OSCE HDIM 2016 opening

Government-sponsored anti-religious hate groups were spotlighted at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw in September 2016. London-based attorney Alessandro Amicarelli, spokesperson for the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB), warned delegates of the activities of FECRIS—the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sects—the coordinating body of a number of European anti-religious associations.

“Such groups are de facto government bodies, not NGOs at all,” Mr. Amicarelli stated, pointing out that FECRIS represents itself as a nongovernmental organization while receiving 90 percent of its funding from the French government. He recommended revocation of their NGO status and non-recognition by international organizations where such groups represent themselves as NGOs but advocate and act against minority groups and bona fide NGOs. 

Freedom of Belief (FOB) logo

“In the months to come FOB will make the voice of minority groups louder in this regard,” Mr. Amicarelli said, in alignment with the FOB purpose “to make the content of the Freedom of Religion and Belief Guidelines adopted by the EU Council alive and implemented and enforced across Europe.”

For the full text of Mr. Amicarelli’s speech, go to

For more information on FECRIS and the dangers it poses to the freedom of religion and belief in Europe, click here:

The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of OSCE participating States is Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference. Organized annually by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), it serves as a platform for 57 OSCE participating States, Partners for Co-operation, OSCE structures, civil society, international organizations and other relevant actors. Participants assess implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments, discuss associated challenges, share good practices and make recommendations for further improvement.

HDIM2016 OSCE Warsaw FECRIS Freedom of Religion hate groups