Tel. 05-712839 Fax. 05-712840
P.O. Box 55275, 3820 Limassol - Cyprus (Chypre)
Saturday, 9 October 1999
General issue: Freedom of Religion, Human Rights and Destructive Cults
The problem caused by the Destructive Cults was deeply considered in a political,
spiritual, social and economic context, during the works of the 1st European Conference
dealing with topics related to the groups which are characterized as being devoted to Destructive Cults and the
Psycho-groups. The Conference dealt in global terms with the issue of: "Freedom of Religion, Human Rights,
Destructive Cults and Psycho-groups". It was organized by the "Pancyprian Parents Union (PPU), the
Parliamentary Committee on Orthodoxy in cooperation with the Committee on legal issues dealing with cults and parareligious
dogmas. It was held under the auspices of Parliament President Mr. Spyros Kyprianou.
Alain Vivien -President of the Interministerial Mission of the Struggle
sects, former Minister of the French Government,
Georghios Krippas, Dr. in Constitutional Law,
Ursula Caberta, Manager of the Governmental Department in Hamburg about
Alexander Dvorkin, Professor, special researcher of the problem in Russia
Georghios Sergides, Dr. in Private and Administrative International Law, attended
Mr. Christos Pourgourides, MP, addressed the Conference on behalf of the
Archibishop Chrysostomos, Head of the Church of Cyprus, also addressed
Parents Associations and Initiatives, as well as: Church, State and Society agents, participated together with
other representatives of the Legal Sector and the Education System, from Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, France, Germany
Once all the aspects of the topic were considered in detail, the participants
concluded unanimously to state the following points which will be put forward before the Church, State and Society
Institutions of their countries.
The 1st European Conference ascertains that the action undertaken by the newly appeared totalitarian cults,
sects, or destructive cults, or freedom-killing groups, is nowadays a dangerous reality in Europe. It emphasized
that the same danger also exists in Cyprus.
The groups, which are described above, have the following characteristics allover
the world: they almost always act under various covers, either as social or philosophical oriented non profit organisations.
They penetrate all the sectors of life depositing an absolute claim, even in the case of policy and economy of
a country, constituting a threat against man's personality, our civilization and democratic principles. They impose
a totalitarian way of thinking. They do not recognize any human rights for their adherents, since they totally
depend upon the leader or the group itself. Basic human rights like the freedom of thinking and judgment, the freedom
of expression or the freedom of information, have been abolished within many of the said groups. Marriage and choosing
one's spouse or even issues related to one's personal and family life or one's marriage, are determined by the
leader of the group itself.
These findings were confirmed in a study published in the magazine "Cultic
Studies Journal" (Vol. 16,1,1999 p. 33-51) which stated that: "...groups that often exploit members psychologically
and or financially, typically by making members comply with leaderships demands through certain types of psychological
manipulation, popularity ".
They do not recognize the human rights of the groups' members who make criticism
within these groups. They believe that whoever makes criticism is "a criminal committing crimes against mankind"
while impeding the beneficial dogma of the organization to dominate the way of thinking of all its members. Eliminating
all those who make criticism is a basic goal of the reverse morals of the "Scientology" and other similar
groups. These organizations keep cooperating amongst themselves, to achieve their goals, on a local, European and
international level. These activities jeopardize the body and spiritual health of man owing to the anti-scientific
pseudo-healing methods, which have intense characteristics of initiation and occultism.
These groups should in no case be characterized as religions or "new religious
movements", which is their intention in order to benefit from any tax exemptions and other privileges.
On this occasion we welcome the Resolution 134 of 17.2.99 by the European Parliament
Committee on the Political Freedoms and Internal Issues. Which "Calls on the Member States to take measures,
while respecting the principles of constitutional law, to combat the violation of individual rights by certain
sects which should be refused the status of religious or cultural organization under which they enjoy tax advantages
and a certain degree of legal protection;"
The participants of the Conference consider that such groups cannot appeal
to their right of freedom of religion since they themselves misuse the freedom of religion of the citizens, having
recourse to false information and data aiming at laying traps to people especially youngsters unsuspicious of the
Violation of the freedom of religion is also noted in the case of conversion
methods used by these groups (efforts to penetrate, using a cheating way, the religious conscience of an individual
and change their religious faith in a dogma, by means of economic and other baits) .
According to the distinguished constitutional law specialist, Dr. Georgios
Krippas, law that forbids unethical conversion has never and nowhere been considered a violation of the freedom
Finally, the position adopted by Mrs. Marie-George Buffet, Youth and Sport
Minister of France is herewith stated, as she expresses herself through a circular addressed by her to the district
officers of her country suggesting to them to take measures against the sects, that is:
"The sects are a reality indeed. Their punishable and dangerous acts confirm the need to have the whole Government
mobilized. The latest studies carried out on this topic have revealed the dangers, which the development of sectarian
movements in France is pregnant with. Especially the financial reinforcement of these sects! These studies have
also shown that the scenario put forward by these sects has changed. The sects invest indeed in sectors like the
education, the professional training, sports and health, after having played an important role in the evolution
of an absurd and xenophobe elite logic. They are now hiding behind educational organizations and organizations
practicing alternative medicine. They become active under the cover of humanitarian works or appearing as a local
The presence of distinguished representatives of European States who are Heads
of Special Government Services on topics related to sects is deemed finally the spark for a serious consideration
about the establishment of relevant services even in States where there have not yet been any.
In view of the above-mentioned, the A' European Conference welcomes with satisfaction
Church, Society and other agents from Cyprus and abroad participating in its being organized and asks:
1 .a) All the institutions to be informed and sensitized in a more detailed way to cope with this serious not only
b) The pupils at schools and the citizens generally to be informed by responsible institutions about the above-mentioned
c) To take practical measures complying with existing legislation or supplementing it in case there are gaps.
The initiatives taken by parents who are represented here will lead to providing this responsible information
2. The "sects" to be obliged to respect the fundamental human rights of their fans, like the right to
be informed, the right to work, to be available, to be insured at work. The children of the organizations' member-victims
should have the right to study at schools that are not part of these groups' ghetto.
3. The sects to be obliged to indicate explicitly their origin on their forms. Not to use misleading titles and
4. The status of religious organisation not to be automatically garanted to the sects, or at least not without
checking before, to groups which intensively or deceptively appear as such while they are not.
5. The foundation of a Centre of Research, Substantiation and Information about the new sects is a direct need.
This Centre will be in charge of providing responsible information about the above-mentioned subject, either in
global terms or specifically on the legal and administrative way of coping with it through collecting any court
decisions and other official texts.
6. The subject of new sects to be a question on which a serious debate could be carried out before the Parliaments
of those countries where despite the recommendations of the European Parliament such an arrangement has not yet
Society and Church need to support morally and financially independent organizations, which have been established
to provide information about the problem of sects. Also to support organizations that are established to assist
the victims and their families. This should be done in compliance with the Recommendations of the European Parliament
(1178 / 1992) and 1412 (1999) where "... the Parliamentary Assembly calls upon the Governments of the Member
States, to support independent national or regional information centres on groups of a religious, esoteric or spiritual