CESNUR - center for studies on new religions

French Government's "Anti-Cult Missionaries" Try to Export Anti-Cultism into Lithuania

On December 14, 2001, Baltic News Service, released this quite disturbing news item:

"The officials of Lithuanian executive institutions are drawing from the french experience in barring dangerous sects. On thursday the representatives of Lithuania's Seimas, government and lawyers participated in a discussion at the Government with the advisor of French prime minister on the issue of new religious movements Jean Yves Defay.
France is the first state in Europe that has enacted a pretty radical law this spring on the baring of the activities of sects. "We have adopted this law so that we could fight predacious movements, that seek to exploit the psychological condition of a person. The state has an obligation to defend all the members of society" - J.Y. Defay told BNS.
He also noted, that the idea to enact preventive measures against sects arose in the Council of Europe, that has recommended toit's member state governments "to take measures, that the societies of the states were safe from the newly arising dangers". The representative of the French Government underlined he does not want to "enforce somebody's opinion on Lithuania".
"Lithuania has a good reputation for being a democratic, law-abiding state, it can itself find a model, that would be acceptable to the society" - noted J.Y. Defay. Viceminister of Justice Paulius Koverovas told BNS, that "In Lithuanian society there is no understanding, that sects were a big problem".
The model of the baring of sects that France has chosen Mr. Koverovas called "quite radical", for it foresees preventive measures against sects, and "when you try to act on the foreseeable illegal activity, it is often very hard to justify your actions".
"t is improtant to Lithuania to find such a model, that would be effective and at the same time would not offend the equilibrium with the human rights. French example would be very useful for us" - noted the viceminister of Justice.
According to P. Koverovas, "additional legal base is needed" to regulate the movement of sects, but it is still a matter of discussion whether it is necessary to create a new law or to simply amend the existing ones. Currently the activities of sects are evaluated according to the Law on religious communities and associations.
The MP who has submitted to Seimas a draft "law to bar sects", Stanislovas Buskevicius, said, that after the conversation with the representatives of the French government his conviction that the law should be enacted, "became even stronger".
S. Buskevicius is intending to ask the Government officially to form a special working group which would evaluate and amend his draft, or propose a new law on the control of the activities of sects.
As it has been announced before, a special Government commission this week has asked the committees of Seimas and the other institutions to submit the information they possess on the sects that are operating in Lithuania.
The purpose of the said commission - to coordinate the activities of state institutions in their efforts to solve the problems related to the activities of spiritual, esoteric and religious groups.
The commission has it's meetings once in two months, it has beend formed in spring 2000. It is composed of representatives from State Security Department, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Justice and other institutions, that encounter the activities of religious organizations in the course of their activities."

Anti-Cult Law in France - Index Page
Full text of the law in French

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