European Parliament: HRWF debate on child marriage on EU REPORTER TV

– Watch the video here:  https://youtu.be/wgOK0_XA6Vg

Panelists

Elisa Van Ruiten, a Gender Specialist at Human Rights Without Frontiers International;
Mohinder Watson, a researcher and activist against child marriage, who escaped a forced marriage of her own as a teenager;
Emilio Puccio, the Coordinator of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, which is a cross-party and cross-national group comprising over 90 MEPs and 25 child-focused organizations.

The presenter was EU Reporter’s Jim Gibbons.

“Every day somewhere in the world, 39,000 young girls are married before they reach the age of majority; more than a third of them are younger than 15, according to the Council of Europe. We may be well into the 21st century but too many girls are still forced to live in a bygone age of male dominance. Human Rights Without Frontiers has just produced a report on women’s rights and the Abrahamic faiths o Christianity, Islam and Judaism.”

EU Reporter – https://bit.ly/2CTvNPh

Next Programme about North Korea (November) –

IF YOU WANT TO BE A PARTNER OF HUMAN RIGHTS WITHOUT FRONTIERS IN AN EU REPORTER TV PROGRAM OF YOUR CHOICE, SEND AN EMAIL TO

w.fautre@hrwf.org




UKRAINE: 1030th anniversary of the ‘Baptism of Rus’ : the ROC and UOC/ Moscow Patriarchate narrative

Pictures: https://bit.ly/2LKUYHu

Heads, members of 10 local Orthodox Churches to celebrate 1030th anniversary of Baptism of Rus in Moscow
Moscow, July 27, Interfax – www.interfax-religion.com/ – Representatives of ten local Orthodox Churches from around the world will come to Moscow to attend celebrations marking the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus.

Delegations from the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Church of Antioch, the Church of Jerusalem, the Orthodox Church of Georgia, the Orthodox Church of Serbia, the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Orthodox Church of Albania, the Orthodox Church of Poland, and the Orthodox Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia are coming to the Russian capital, the Moscow Patriarchate told Interfax-Religion.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will meet Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria and All Africa and members of other church delegations on Friday.

“It is very significant that our brothers from all across the Orthodox world are now coming to Moscow and Kiev so that we together can express our unity on this date, which is so important for the Russian Orthodox Church,” the spokesman of the Russian patriarch, priest Alexander Volkov, told Interfax-Religion.

In turn, the deputy head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, described the Baptism of Rus as “an epoch-making event in Russian history.”

“Everything that happened before is lost in the dark and is known to us only in fragments. A new people and a new civilization were born in the Dnieper baptistery, and this event was accompanied by such a strong creative surge that the newly born Orthodox Rus expanded later to new territories, and we received from God a ‘sixth part of the Earth,’ where different people now live, and new state borders are drawn, but with its own history, its own culture, and its global vision united for many centuries to come,” the priest told Interfax-Religion.

“The Orthodox belief in Christ, the belief that St. Prince Vladimir chose, formed all of us, that is, the Russians, the Ukrainians, the Belarusians, the Moldovans, and all descendants of the Baptism of St. Vladimir, no matter what they call themselves now,” the patriarch’s spokesman said.

“The anniversary of our Baptism is an event of global significance,” and it is not accidental that all of the Orthodox Churches in the world deemed it fitting to attend it, “share their joy with us, sending their hierarchs both to Kiev and to Moscow,” the priest said.

The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore will be Russia’s main guest, Father Nikolay said, noting that he “is our long-standing and faithful friend, who wholeheartedly fell in love with the Russians after spending ten years of study and service in Odessa.”

“Let’s pray together, let’s share our joy and troubles, let’s think about how to build up the unity of our global Orthodox family,” the priest said.

The patriarchs of the Alexandrian and Russian Orthodox Churches, accompanied by members of other delegations, will lead a vigil service on Friday evening.

The Day of the Baptism of Rus was declared a state memorial date in Russia in 2010 at the Archbishop Council’s request.

Over 100,000 pilgrims to attend Kiev cross procession – Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Moscow, July 27, Interfax – The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is expecting even more believers to attend the Kiev cross procession marking the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus than attended last year.

“It is still early to make final assessments, but in any case, there will be more than 100,000 people. I have been on Vladimirskaya Gorka [Vladimir Hill] for more than an hour, waiting for a religious service, and there’s a nonstop flow of people coming here from three streets,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesman Vasily Anisimov told Interfax-Religion.

He expressed hope that the festivities would not be marred by provocations. “God can never be cursed. Let’s hope that everything will be alright,” Anisimov said.

Dozens of buses from western Ukraine were stopped on the Zhitomir Highway leading to Kiev this morning because of they had supposedly been mined, he said.

There were reports of attempts to prevent believers from attending the cross procession in several Ukrainian regions on Thursday.

For instance, Ukrainian Security Service officers have stopped five buses in Zaporozhye for several hours under the pretext that they had been mined, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s press service said.

Cars full of armed people blocked another nine buses from Zaporozhye and Melitopol.

Attempts to keep people from the Kiev cross procession were also undertaken in the Zhitomir and Rovno regions, and obstacles were created for pilgrims from the Nezhin and Odessa dioceses.

Still, tens of thousands of people have come to Kiev, the church’s press service said.

The attempts to block the highway have backfired, Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy of the Rovno Diocese said. “Even more people than expected came because of this resistance,” he said.

Kiev cross procession begins

Kiev, July 27, Interfax – A Ukrainian Orthodox Church cross procession marking the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus has begun in downtown Kiev.

After the prayer service on Vladimirskaya Gorka (Vladimir Hill), believers moved across European Square and along Grushevsky Street toward the Kiev Lavra of the Caves, an Interfax correspondent reported.

Clergymen carrying religious banners and icons are leading the column.

Law enforcement officers are providing security.

In attendance are the co-chairs of the Opposition Bloc faction in the Verkhovnaya Rada, Yury Boyko and Aleksander Vilkul, faction members Vadim Novinsky, Nestor Shufrich, Mikhail Dobkin, and Yury Pavlenko, and Vladimir Litvin, an independent MP.

The situation is calm in downtown Kiev. Due to the high humidity and temperature, some participants sometimes have felt dizzy in the crowd, but ambulances are on site providing aid.

About 250,000 attend cross procession in Kiev – organizers (1)

Moscow, July 27, Interfax – The cross procession held in Kiev on Friday afternoon to mark the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus brought together 250,000 believers from various Ukrainian regions and from other countries, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s press service said.

“Participants in today’s cross procession moved in a mighty flow toward the center of the capital for three hours. It was a marvelously joyful event,” church spokesperson Vasily Anisimov told Interfax-Religion.

A total of 100,000 people attended the celebration last year.

(1) HRWF Comment: No alternative reliable source confirms or denies these statistics. Noteworthy is the fact that the UOC/ Moscow Patriarchate in Kyiv and the ROC in Moscow name the event “the baptism of the Rus” and not “the christianization of the Kievan Rus”.




UKRAINE: UOC – MP holds religious procession in Kyiv – See videos: https://bit.ly/2Oo00IH

Ukrinform (27.07.2018) – https://bit.ly/2Oo00IH – A religious procession of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has ended in Kyiv without any incidents. The pilgrims marched from Saint Volodymyr Hill to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery.

According to an Ukrinform correspondent, the column was led by a security police patrol. In particular, several police cars, as well as a car with the inscription “bomb disposal service,” were used.
The column was also accompanied by police officers with dogs. Law enforcers constantly checked flower beds located along the route of the column. National Guard servicemen were deployed along the route of the procession.
On the way to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, UOC-MP Head Onufriy laid flowers at the monument to Hero of the Heavenly Hundred Mikhail Zhiznevsky, who was killed on Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv on January 22, 2014 during clashes between the security forces and EuroMaidan activists.

Earlier, the UOC-MP held a prayer service on Saint Volodymyr Hill. In addition to the clergy, the event was attended by Opposition Bloc MPs Yuriy Boyko, Vadim Novinsky, Nestor Shufrych, Oleksandr Vilkul, and independent MP Volodymyr Lytvyn.

President Petro Poroshenko did not attend the celebrations but will attend those to be organized by the UOC Kyiv Patriarchate on the next day.




Russia: 23 Jehovah’s Witnesses behind bars (+ 1) and 3 put under house arrest

JW Headquarters (18.07.2018) – On Sunday 15 July 2018, around 4 p.m., a police raid took place in Penza (about 650 km SE of Moscow). The police officers arrived at homes where four small groups of Witnesses had gathered. They had waited for someone to leave the apartments before bursting in and conducting searches. In one of the groups, a female investigator searched 6 women, ordering them to remove all of their clothes. As is often the case, the police seized all electronic devices and storage media, printed photographs, personal notes and notebooks. They detained about 20 adults in total, taking them to the police station. At 2 or 3 a.m. they finally let all the women go, along with most of the men. However Vladimir Alushkin, Vladimir Kulyasov, Andrey Magliv, and Denis Timoshin were detained. On 17 July, a judge sentenced Mr. Alushkin to pre-trial detention (two months), while the other three men have been placed under house arrest (two months).

Additionally, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum issued a press release (https://bit.ly/2uK9y7G) to express their ‘deep concern’ over the escalating persecution of JWs in Russia. The press release included a reminder that JWs were persecuted (many even killed) during the Nazi regime. The German government targeted JWs largely due to the fact they would not swear allegiance to the state (any state) or serve in the military. Thus, learning from such a dark period in history, the Museum’s director urged “leaders from across society to forcefully denounce the anti-Jehovah’s Witnesses campaign currently underway” in Russia:

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum remains deeply concerned over the continuing harassment and persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses by Russian authorities. Since the Russian Supreme Court labeled Jehovah’s Witnesses an “extremist organization” in April 2016, Witness property has been seized by the state, numerous Witnesses have been arrested, and hundreds have fled the country.

“The state-sponsored persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses continues to escalate in the Russian Federation,” said Tad Stahnke, the Museum’s director of international educational outreach. “The Museum urges leaders from across society to forcefully denounce the anti-Jehovah’s Witness campaign currently underway.”

During the Nazi regime, the German government targeted Jehovah’s Witnesses because their religious beliefs prevented them from adhering to the requirements of the Nazi state. Witnesses do not swear allegiance to any state or serve in the military. These religious convictions as well as their international connections—the headquarters are in the United States and some Witnesses travel abroad for their missionary work—made them a perceived threat to Nazism. Of the 25,000–30,000 active Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nazi Germany, about half were convicted and sentenced during the Nazi period. Of those convicted or sentenced, between 2,000 and 2,500 were sent to concentration camps, as were a total of about 700 to 800 non-German Witnesses. An estimated 1,000 German Witnesses and 400 non-German Witnesses died in the camps.

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit ushmm.org.




RUSSIA: 22 Jehovah’s Witnesses behind bars/ First female JW locked up

JW Headquarters / Russia Religion News (10.07.2018) – https://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/180706a.html – On 6 July 2018, 46-year-old Sergei Poliakov and his wife, Anastasia, who are suspected of professing the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, were sent to an Omsk SIZO (pretrial detention). They were arrested during searches conducted on 4 July 2018 in the homes of local residents.

The Poliakov couple were incommunicado for two days and the door to their apartment was found to be broken down. Simultaneous searches were conducted in at least four residences of Omsk. Beginning at 7:00 a.m., searches continued until 15:00 and were conducted in houses, parcels of land, business structures, and in citizens’ parked cars. All sorts of electronic devices and data storage were seized. During a search, witnesses actively helped law enforcement personnel, prompted, and even tried to question believers. The operation was conducted by Denis Loginovsky, an investigator of the Azov Investigation Department of the Russian Investigative Committee for Omsk oblast.

It is still not known which articles the criminal case will be based on. However law enforcement agencies in various regions of Russia mistakenly take the shared religious confession of citizens as participation in an extremist organization. The attention of prominent public figures of Russia and also of the Council for Human Rights under the Russian president has already been called to this problem. (tr. by PDS, posted 9 July 2018)




RUSSIA: 16 Jehovah’s Witnesses behind bars as of 8 June

HRWF (08.06.2018) – The number of Jehovah’s Witnesses deprived of their freedom has been dramatically and rapidly increasing in Russia since the ban of their religion in April 2017.

It can unfortunately be expected that the situation will worsen day after day and that young Jehovah’s Witnesses will also be targeted for their conscientious objection to military service, as members of a banned extremist religious organization (!).

Here is an updated list of 16 prisoners as of 8 June 2018. Their pre-trial detention is systematically prolonged until their trial starts.

See below the region they are from, followed by the name of the detainee and birthdate, the date of the arrest, the article of the criminal code and the dates of their pre-trial detention.

Charges

Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 1: Organisation of the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity.

Criminal Code Article 282.2, Part 2: Participation in the activity of a social or religious association or other organisation in relation to which a court has adopted a decision legally in force on liquidation or ban on the activity in connection with the carrying out of extremist activity.

List of Prisoners

Oryol Region Oryol
Dennis CHRISTENSEN (18-Dec-72)
25-May-17
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 26-May-18 / 1-Aug-18

Republic of Tatarstan Naberezhniye Chelny
Ilkham Shamilevich Karimov (9-Feb-81)
27-Mar-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 29-May-18/ 25-Jul-18

Vladimir Nikolayevich Myakushin (6-Nov-87)
27-Mar-18
Article 282.2(1), (1.1) and (2)
Pre-trial detention: 29-May-18/ 25-Jul-18

Konstantin Matrashov (1983)
27-Mar-18
Article 282.2(1), (1.1) and (2)
Pre-trial detention: 29-May-18/ 25-Jul-18

Aydar Maratoviсh Yulmetyev (Aug-93)
27-Mar-18
Article 282.2(1), (1.1) and (2)
Pre-trial detention: 31-May-18/ 25-Jul-18

Republic of Bashkortostan Ufa
Anatoliy Sergeyevich Vilitevich (15-Sep-86)
10-Apr-18
Article 282.2(2)
Pre-trial detention: 12-Apr-18/ 2-Jul-18

Murmansk Region Polyarny
Roman Nikolayevich Markin (18-Mar-74)
18-Apr-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 23-Apr-18/ 11-Jun-18

Viktor Fedorovich Trofimov (26-Mar-57)
18-Apr-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 23-Apr-18/ 12-Jun-18

Vladivostok Region Vladivostok
Valentin Pavlovich Osadchuk (15-Mar-78)
19-Apr-18
Article 282.2(2)
Pre-trial detention: 23-Apr-18/ 20-Jun-18

Orenburg Region Orenburg
Aleksandr Gennadyevich Suvorov (20-Apr-80)
16-May-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 19-May-18/ 14-Jul-18

Vladimir Yuryevich Kochnev (15-Oct-79)
16-May-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 19-May-18/ 14-Jul-18

Magadan Region Magadan
Konstantin Nikolayevich Petrov (9-Aug-86)
30-May-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 01-Jun-18/ 29-Jul-18

Ivan Grigoryevich Puyda (C.O.)(5-Nov-78)
30-May-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 01-Jun-18 30/-Jul-18

Yevgeniy Anatolyevich Zyablov (9-Mar-77)
30-May-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 01-Jun-18/ 29-Jul-18

Sergey Liviyevich Yerkin (23-Jun-53)
30-May-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention: 01-Jun-18/ 29-Jul-18

Tomsk Region Tomsk
Sergey Gennadyevich Klimov (C.O.) (26-Mar-70)
3-Jun-18
Article 282.2(1)
Pre-trial detention 05-Jun-18 04-Aug-18