Conference of the International Cultic Studies Association and
The Psychology Faculty, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Psychological Manipulation, Cultic Groups, and Other Alternative Movements
in Madrid, Spain, July 14-16, 2005
Presentation of FECRIS
FECRIS (European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Sectarianism) was founded on 30 June 1994 in Paris following the International Congress on Sectarianism in Barcelona in 1993. It is a non-commercial association under French law. It declared itself politically, philosophically and religiously neutral as stated in article 2 of its statutes.
Its objectives are:
To date the Federation covers 45 associations spread over 29 countries:
Argentina - Armenia - Australia - Austria - Belgium - Belarus - Bulgaria - Cyprus - Estonia - Finland - France -Germany - Ireland - Italy - Israel - Lithuania - Malta - Norway - Netherlands - Poland - Russia - Serbia - Slovakia - Sweden - Switzerland - Spain - Ukraine - United Kingdom - United States.
The wide development of our network is due to the migration of cults/sects from the USA and Western Europe to Eastern Europe resulting in the progressive creation of Eastern European associations which then became FECRIS memebers and correspondents.
In 1999, FECRIS wishing to clarify the ethical principles to which its members and correspondents adhere drew up a chart, in which it declared itself non-philosophic, non-religious, non-political and non-commercial.
The basic concepts which motivated FECRIS’s activities are:
Objectivity and pragmatism
In 1999, in Paris, on the premises of the French National Assembly, a European Conference was organised by FECRIS which brought together more than 200 participants from all over Europe. At the end of this conference the participants consented in a Common Declaration
In this Declaration FECRIS commits itself to respect fundamental freedoms as accepted in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and fundamental freedoms of 1950, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and in a general way various declarations pertaining to Man and the Citizen ratified by different European States.
FECRIS declared, among other duties, that it considered that the public authorities were responsible for:
FECRIS had already declared its support of resolution 134 of 18 February 1998 of the European Parliament's Committee of Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs.
This resolution invites Member States to "take measures, in compliance with the principles of legality, with a view to fighting abuses caused to people by certain sects which should be denied the status of cult or religious organisation endowing them with certain tax advantages and legal protection".
FECRIS also fully agrees with the Resolution adopted on January 15, 2003 by the European Parliament according to which it:
"recommends to the members States to fight the illegal activities of alleged sects, which threaten the mental or physical integrity of individuals and, thus, respect the principles of the State of Law and apply normal procedures of penal and civil law, in accordance with the views expressed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe ".
"also considers that the freedom to no longer adhere to a religion or to a philosophy and the right to leave the corresponding community must also be included in individual freedoms and that this right should be actively protected by public authorities whenever this proves to be necessary"
With regard to the FECRIS’ charter, in particular it should be kept in mind that:
Our analysis is based on the evidence derived from the behaviour of organisations. It is important to resist the pressure to place cultic/sectarian behaviour on the safe ground of belief and religion. The argument is a false one based on a superficial approach to the issues and incompatible with scientific analysis.
We focus on a cult or a guru when the organisation or the individual "trades" in beliefs and in destructive techniques with mind control as a tool.
Our conclusions are considered and cautious. They take into account possible misrepresentations and the sorrow and destruction of the victims and their families.
We denounce the uninformed enrolment of individuals into certain thought reform systems and the potentially damaging results to our social, democratic and family structures.
The activity of FECRIS has three axes:
We were very pleased to learn, on this very day, that we have obtained consultative/participative status with the Council of Europe. We had participated as observers at the sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE in the regroupings of OING. We will now continue to do so as OING in the framework of regroupings on Humans rights, Health and the Social Charter.
FECRIS is recognised for its impartiality by several official or governmental organisations such as the MIVILUDES in France, the CIAOSN in Belgium, the services of the French Prime Minister, the Parliament of Catalonia and, in particular, its Secretariat for Youth, etc.
The European Parliament invited FECRIS to take part in a meeting under the aegis of its Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs.
FECRIS is also well-known to the French government which, within the framework of its promotion of Human Rights, grants it significant support.
This presentation was held by Friedrich Griess, president of FECRIS, based on a presentation held by the former president Jean Nokin on 24.4.2003 for the European Parlament.