• The protection of minors against excesses of sects

    H/T to Gandolf for this one, in response to the article about the girl being taken out of a Christian school because she didn’t look girly enough. God move for the European Union to be tackling such issues.

    This is from the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. Read the hole thing here.


    The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights is of the opinion that more measures must be taken at national and European level to counter the excesses of sects which affect minors.

    Without seeking to define the term “sect”, the committee puts forward a series of measures to identify more effectively the extent of the phenomenon of sects and to combat abuse of minors by sects. It condemns in particular the “excesses of sects”, namely acts and techniques which seek to place individuals in a state of psychological or physical submission, and stresses that these excesses can lead to violations of the fundamental rights of minors in terms of their right to life, their physical integrity, their family and social links and their education.

    Unfortunately, in Europe, there are no comprehensive data on the scale of this problem, and action taken in this regard by the European institutions and the national authorities has been very limited. Only a few States have passed legislation to prevent and punish excesses of sects (Belgium, France and Luxembourg) and a number of others (in particular Austria, Germany and Switzerland) have adopted smaller-scale measures, primarily in the field of surveillance.

    The Council of Europe member States should step up their efforts to protect minors against the excesses of sects. Amongst other things, they should compile statistics on the scale of the phenomenon of sects, set up national surveillance centres in this regard, ensure effective monitoring of private schools and home schooling, make abuse of weakness a criminal offence, and carry out large-scale awareness-raising activities. It is also recommended that national parliaments set up study groups on the phenomenon of sects so that the public at large is made more aware of this issue. In addition, the committee believes that it would be helpful to set up a working group in the Council of Europe for the purposes of exchanging information and good practices.

    Category: Secularism


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce