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Report submitted by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/33

E/CN.4/2001/63

          
          UNITED
          NATIONS
          Economic and Social
          Council
          COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
          Fifty-seventh session
          Item 11(e) of the provisional agenda
          Distr.
          GENERAL
          E/CN.4/200 1/63
          13 February 2001
          ENGLISH
          Original: ENGLISHIFRENCH
          CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE
          Report submitted by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur, in accordance
          with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/33
          CONTENTS
          Paragraphs
          Page
          2 - 155
          Executive summary 2
          Introduction 1
          I. REPORT ON COMMUNICATIONS SENT BY THE SPECIAL
          RAPPORTEUR AND REPLIES RECEIVED FROM STATES
          S1NCE THE PUBLICATION OF THE REPORT SUBMITTED
          TO THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AT ITS
          FIFTY-SIXTH SESSION
          II. N SITU VISITS AND FOLLOW-UP PROCEDURE 156 - 172
          III. INTERNATIONAL CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE ON
          SCHOOL EDUCATION N RELATION TO FREEDOM OF
          RELIGION AND BELIEF, TOLERANCE AND
          NON-DISCRIM1NATION 173 - 179
          IV. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 180 - 197
          3
          3
          40
          43
          44
          E
          GE.01-11280 (E)
        
          
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          Executive summary
          Since 1987, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission has been examining incidents
          and governmental action in all parts of the world that is inconsistent with the provisions of
          the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination
          Based on Religion or Belief and has been recommending remedial measures for such situations.
          Since that date, a report has been submitted each year to the Commission on Human Rights and,
          since 1994, to the General Assembly.
          The present report, which is submitted in accordance with Commission
          resolution 2000/33 of 20 April 2000, contains, firstly, a report on communications sent by the
          Special Rapporteur and replies received from States since the publication of the report submitted
          to the Commission at its fifty-sixth session (E/CN.4/2000/65); it covers 85 communications,
          including one urgent appeal, sent to 52 States and 17 replies received from States (chap. I). The
          Special Rapporteur also gives an account of his in situ visits and the follow-up to them (chap. II).
          He then summarizes the work of the Preparatory Committee for the international consultative
          conference on school education in relation to freedom of religion and belief, tolerance and
          non-discrimination, to be held in Spain from 23 to 25 November 2001 (chap. III). Lastly, in
          chapter IV the Special Rapporteur offers an analysis of violations of the 1981 Declaration and
          makes recommendations aimed at addressing, particularly from the standpoint of prevention, a
          situation that has become quite alarming.
        
          
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          Introduction
          1. Since 1987, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights has been
          examining incidents and governmental action in all parts of the world inconsistent with the
          provisions of the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of
          Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and has been recommending remedial measures
          for such situations. Since that date, the Special Rapporteur has submitted to the Commission
          13 reports supplemented, in many cases, by addenda. Since 1994, reports have also been
          submitted to the General Assembly. The present report is submitted in accordance with
          Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/33 of 20 April 2000.
          I. REPORT ON COMMUNICATIONS SENT BY THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR
          AND REPLIES RECEIVED FROM STATES SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF
          THE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
          AT ITS FIFTY-SIXTH SESSION
          2. This report covers a total of 85 communications (including one urgent appeal to
          the Islamic Republic of Iran) sent to 52 States: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan (2), Belarus,
          Bhutan, Bulgaria (2), Burundi, Chad, China (5), Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt (3), Eritrea, Georgia (4),
          Greece, Hungary, India (3), Indonesia (5), Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Italy (2),
          Jordan (2), Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon,
          The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Myanmar (3),
          Nauru, Nepal (2), Niger, Nigeria (2), Norway, Pakistan (3), Papua New Guinea, Philippines (2),
          Republic of Korea, Russian Federation (2), Saudi Arabia (2), South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan,
          Turkey (2), Turkmenistan (4), Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan (2), Viet Nam
          and Yemen.
          3. It also covers the replies of 17 States which were either sent in the context of the
          preceding report and submitted to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-fifth (1999)
          and fifty-sixth (2000) sessions (one State: Sudan) or were sent in connection with the allegations
          contained in the present report (16 States: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Georgia (2),
          Greece, India (3), Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Russian Federation,
          Saudi Arabia (2) and Turkey (2)).
          4. The Special Rapporteur wishes to point out that while all States, without exception, have
          cases and/or situations of discrimination or intolerance in respect of religion or belief, they are
          of different types and degrees. If the resources at his disposal were strengthened, the Special
          Rapporteur could prepare a world report on freedom of religion or belief Meanwhile, pending
          the achievement of that objective, the Special Rapporteur has tried to address problems of
          intolerance and discrimination that reflect the situation in as many States as possible.
          Afghanistan
          5. Because of the climate of intolerance and religious discrimination in Afghanistan
          resulting from the Taliban policy, religious minorities, in particular the Sikhs, are beginning to
        
          
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          flee the country. These departures are reportedly due to Taliban measures to force conversion to
          Islam and to discrimination against women, such as confining them to their homes or requiring
          them to wear the burga in public. In addition, on 19 March 2000, the Ministry for the Promotion
          of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice announced on Radio Shariat that the celebration of Nawruz,
          the first day of the Persian solar New Year, was anti-Islamic. On 20 March 2000, Taliban
          soldiers reportedly pursued and assaulted a crowd of people who had gathered to celebrate
          Nawruz near the capital at Khair Khana and at the Sakhi shrine in Kabul.
          South Africa
          6. During 2000 the Media Review Network and representatives of the Muslim
          community complained of the fear of Muslims displayed and fomented by some of the media
          in South Africa, which was creating a climate of insecurity among that community.
          Saudi Anibia
          7. On 24 April 2000, at Najran, security forces reportedly clashed with members of the
          Ismaili community. According to the Saudi press agency, these incidents were linked to
          the arrest of a sorcerer which apparently led to Ismaili demonstrations. The clashes
          reportedly caused the death of one person and the wounding of four others. Other sources
          claim that the Ismailis were actually protesting against the closing of an Ismaili mosque by
          the religious police.
          8. In its reply, Saudi Arabia stressed its sincere willingness to cooperate with the Special
          Rapporteur, and it provided the following explanations regarding the aforementioned allegation:
          the information that had been spread by some press agencies on the case in question was
          inaccurate. The incident had in fact been an isolated one that had been blown out of proportion
          by certain parties, even though the Saudi authorities had immediately provided clarification of
          the incident in various newspapers. The facts were the following: information had reached the
          security forces about the illegal practice of sorcery on a large scale by an inhabitant of the
          kingdom, provoking reactions from a large number of citizens and residents. Following repeated
          complaints about those unacceptable and illegal activities, on 22 April 2000 the authorities had
          allowed security officers to arrest the person concerned on the basis of an official warrant in
          order to investigate the complaints. When the person's house was searched, one of the
          individuals present had opened fire on the security officers, one of whom had been seriously
          injured. In addition, a group of individuals, taking advantage of the situation, had gone to the
          home of the emir of the region to demand the release of the sorcerer and had fired in the
          direction of the emir's residence, killing one guard and wounding three others. Saudi Arabia
          stressed that the incident was in fact a breach of the peace that had endangered the lives of others
          and violated the laws and regulations in force.
          9. From the circumstances it would seem, Saudi Arabia maintains, that no ideological or
          religious objective is involved. Like other citizens, citizens who belong to the Ismaili sect are
          free to pray and worship, and they have their own mosques. The person who was at the origin of
          the incident was arrested for sorcery, which is forbidden by law in Saudi Arabia. According to
          Saudi Arabia, this had nothing to do with the person's affiliation with the Ismaili sect, whose
        
          
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          members enjoy the same rights as others and are subject to the same obligations. As to reports of
          the closing of an Ismaili mosque, Saudi Arabia said that that allegation was groundless and
          inaccurate; Ismaili mosques are still open and Ismailis may go about their business freely and
          unhindered.
          10. According to a second communication, George Joseph, an Indian Christian was arrested
          on 25 June 2000 in Riyadh and placed in a detention centre; he is reportedly liable to deportation
          for possession of a video about a Christian meeting in Saudi Arabia. On 27 August 2000 another
          Indian, Joseph Vergis, also a Christian, was allegedly arrested in Riyadh for possession of a
          cassette bearing the inscription Jesus.
          11. Saudi Arabia replied that George Joseph had been arrested for having engaged in
          activities that created a disturbance and in response to complaints from persons living in his
          neighbourhood. Mr. Joseph was allegedly distributing a video that was illegal, being contrary to
          the values and rules in force in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, in his deposition, Mr. Joseph admitted
          to having engaged in that illegal activity. It also became clear during the trial that Mr. Joseph
          had not come to Saudi Arabia for purposes of employment, but for purposes that were contrary
          to the regulations and laws in force in the country. Mr. Joseph was tried and sentenced to leave
          the country, and the judgement was immediately enforced. As for Joseph Vergis, Saudi Arabia
          has no available information, given that his name does not appear in security service records.
          Relevant information will be transmitted to the Special Rapporteur once it is obtained by the
          competent Saudi authorities.
          12. The Special Rapporteur urges Saudi Arabia to provide him with more specific
          information concerning the activities of which George Joseph was accused and the values and
          regulations that he is alleged to have violated.
          Azerbaijan
          13. Following their dismissal in 1999 by the management of Azerbaijan Qaz Emali Zavodu,
          a gas refinery, because of their beliefs (see E/CN.4/2000/65, para. 14), a group of Jehovah's
          Witnesses reportedly filed a complaint with the Prosecutor's Office. The Azerbaijani
          trade union of oil and gas industry workers is said to have replied that those employees had
          spread the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses, who were operating illegally in Azerbaijan. It
          was reportedly decided, therefore, that those actions were unconstitutional and would be legally
          punished by dismissal. The company also filed a complaint on grounds of illegal religious
          activity, and an administrative committee is said to have decided in favour of the claim; the
          committee declared the employees guilty of proselytism and of holding illegal religious
          meetings, and it reportedly ordered them to pay a fine. The newspaper Gan ilik published an
          article on the dismissals and is said to have mentioned the names of the employees and to have
          called them “dogs”, “predators” and “slaves of enemy forces” with “poisoned minds” who ought
          to be “thrown out of Azerbaijan”.
          14. In September 1999, the authorities allegedly decided to expel nine members of the
          Baptist congregation. The Prosecutor's Office is said to have submitted a report supporting that
          decision.
        
          
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          15. Azerbaijan replied as follows:
          The Prosecutor's Office has announced that, since the beginning of 1999,
          M. Makarenko, A. Mamedova, A. Makbmoudova, S. Gadjigaribova, 0. Nasraddinova
          and 0. Pritouliak, six employees of an Azerbaijani gas refinery, began to engage in
          propaganda activities to promote the religious sect Jehovah's Witnesses: they distributed
          religious tracts and tried to convert others to their beliefs. Providing free materials to
          their colleagues, they organized study groups during working hours, to which they
          invited other employees. By spreading the ideas, objectives and purposes of their
          religious sect, they actually created a religious circle. Overtime, the religious activities
          of the above-mentioned company employees became more open. Their participation in
          religious meetings held behind closed doors was no longer a secret from anyone.
          On 1 September 1999, the employees of the plant met in a general assembly to
          consider the activities of the employees who were members of the sect, trying to
          convince them to give up their illegal and inappropriate activities. Noting that these
          employees were becoming increasingly separated from the other workers, that they were
          boycotting group activities organized by the staff, that they were showing an increasing
          indifference towards their work and were trying not to form friendships with their
          colleagues, whom they despised, the workers who spoke up during the meeting said
          that this demonstrated the harmful effect of the religious sect. With regard to the
          Jehovah's Witnesses as a sect, those who spoke also pointed out that they preached
          non-recognition of the State, its laws and its symbols, and rejected military service and
          other civic duties. Some also noted that this sect authorized its members to take part in
          all sorts of illegal activities and actions promoting destabilization of the State. The
          general assembly therefore proposed to the six employees that they should renounce
          religious sectarianism and promise not to continue their activities.
          Instead of complying, the employees in question refused to turn away from their
          chosen path, and even expressed their intention to redouble their efforts. Following the
          discussion, the general assembly of plant workers thus took the decision to demand
          that management should dismiss the six employees who were members of the
          Jehovah's Witnesses sect.
          In accordance with articles 70 (y) and 72 (v) of the Labour Code of Azerbaijan,
          which establishes the penalties for administrative infractions committed by individuals
          during working hours and on work premises, the director of the plant decided to dismiss
          the six employees. After the Garadag district procurator's office in Baku had verified the
          evidence concerning the activities of the workers who were members of the sect, it was
          established that the persons in question had actually committed the infractions set out in
          article 202, paragraph 1, of the Administrative Code of Azerbaijan, and an administrative
          action was therefore brought against them.
        
          
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          During the inquiry, it also appeared that the activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses
          in the district were not limited to the refinery. Among other things, it was established
          that the members of the sect met regularly in an apartment located in an apartment
          building in Lokbatan. Those meetings, which were also attended by minors, were
          organized by the occupants of the apartment, Remi and Galina Remiev. In addition to
          spreading propaganda at the various religious meetings, the members of the sect collected
          money on the pretext of asking for charity. Administrative action was also taken against
          Remi and Galina Remiev on the basis of the available evidence.
          After considering the case, the district administrative committee took the required
          decisions in the context of the administrative actions.
          On 3 January 2000, the persons against whom the judgements had been made
          appealed against the administrative committee's decision of 9 December 1999 before the
          district court, without obtaining satisfaction. Following the decision of the district court,
          the persons in question filed an appeal with the court of cassation in Baku; this case has
          not yet been decided.
          In addition, the former employees of the plant applied to the district court to be
          reinstated in their jobs at the plant. The civil proceedings are now in progress. Even
          before the case was considered by the court, however, the director of the refinery, at his
          own initiative, reinstated the employees, who are now back at work.”
          16. The Special Rapporteur, while noting the need to ensure respect for legal provisions
          regarding working conditions, wishes to recall the international rules on freedom of religion and
          belief and to emphasize that restrictions on freedom to express one's religion or belief should be
          consistent with international law.
          17. According to a second communication, authorities in the Passports Department of the
          Ministry of the Interior, relying on their interpretation of section 6 of the Arrivals, Departures
          and Passports Act, which stipulates that citizens must supply a photograph showing them as they
          normally appear and without a hat, refused all photographs showing women wearing the hijab .
          However, on 10 August 1999, the Nasimi district court reportedly ruled that the Passport
          Department must issue a passport to women wearing the hijab . The district procurator's office is
          reported to have appealed this decision to a higher court, which in turn upheld the August 1999
          decision. The Vice-President of the Supreme Court, on the other hand, is reported to have
          overturned that decision. In 2000, many women wearing the hijab again filed an appeal with
          the Procurator-General which was reportedly rejected.
          Belarus
          18. The Constitution and the law governing compulsory universal military service make
          provision for a civilian alternative to compulsory military service, yet no implementing
          legislation exists. Consequently, during 2000, Valanstin Hulai and M. Mikhaltso,
          Jehovah's Witnesses, were charged in Rechytsa with desertion, even though they had asked
          to perform alternative civilian service owing to their conscientious objector status.
        
          
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          Bhutan
          19. Christian churches are not authorized to conduct religious activities. The Seventh-day
          Adventist Church has reportedly complained that the authorities have refused to allow it to build
          a church even though Bhutanese citizens belong to that denomination.
          Bulgaria
          20. On 21 May 2000 in the village of Maritca, Sofia district, a group of individuals headed
          by an Orthodox priest are reported to have attacked three members of the Bible Association for
          Christian Unity who wanted to show the film “Jesus” in the local community club.
          21. Bulgaria replied:
          “The District Police in Kostenets immediately set up an operational group on the
          case, which was sent to the village to clarify the circumstances. Initial actions towards
          identifying the perpetrators were undertaken. Four tapes with film material were
          confiscated and after having been reported to the Ihtiman District Prosecutor they have
          been returned to the representatives of the Bible Association.
          In response to the claim filed by the assaulted persons (No. 120 of 1 June 2000),
          a preliminary investigation on case No. 132/2000 was opened on the basis of the
          materials of the District Police in Kostenets. Following the finalization of the
          preliminary investigation, the documents on the case will be submitted to the District
          Prosecutor of Ihtiman.
          Upon receiving the information notice on the case, the State Directorate for
          Religious Denominations forwarded a request to the Ministry of the Interior to conduct a
          thorough investigation of the case. The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
          was also notified of the case and was requested to evaluate the behaviour of the priest and
          consider appropriate sanctions with regard to him, in accordance with the Statute of the
          Bulgarian Orthodox Church.”
          The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank Bulgaria for its constant cooperation with him in his
          work on religious intolerance and for sending detailed replies that are in keeping with the spirit
          of the 1981 Declaration.
          22. According to a second communication, notwithstanding constitutional provisions
          guaranteeing freedom of religion and belief, such non-traditional minorities as the
          Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints face hurdles in
          conducting their activities. On 20 March 2000, two Jehovah's Witnesses in Turgovishte were
          reportedly arrested for disturbing the peace owing to their proselytizing in public. In April 2000,
          police in Plovdiv allegedly halted the distribution of religious tracts by missionaries from the
          Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who were also charged with distributing documents
          without a permit.
        
          
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          Burundi
          23. On 3 October 2000, in Kibimba commune, Brother Antoine Ruciano was stopped on the
          Gitega Province highway by four individuals wearing military uniforms. These individuals then
          summarily executed him and fled.
          China
          24. In October 1999, Father John Gao Kexian of the Diocese of Yantai was reportedly taken
          into custody in Shandong for refusing to accept the control of the Catholic Patriotic Association.
          On 23 November 1999, Father Jiang Sunian of the Diocese of Wenzhou was reportedly arrested
          in Zhejiang in the context of a campaign by the Catholic Patriotic Association aimed at
          compelling Catholics to join it. In Hebei, late in November 1999, Bishop John Han Dingxiang
          was reportedly arrested in Shijiazhuang. Father Quo Yibao, Father Wang Zhenghe and
          Father Xie Guolin were also reportedly arrested in Hebei in 1999. Bishop James Su Zhimin of
          Baoding and Auxiliary Bishop Francis An Shuxin of Zhengding reportedly disappeared as long
          ago as 1996, while Bishop Julius Jia of Zhengding has reportedly not been seen since
          August 1999. In January 2000, Catholics in Zhejiang Province were reportedly compelled,
          after having been kept in detention for several days, to sign Catholic Patriotic Association
          membership forms. The police reportedly threatened to have their children expelled from school
          if they refused. Non-official Catholic properties, including two churches, were reportedly
          destroyed. On 25 May 2000, Father Jiang Sunian (see above) was reportedly sentenced by a
          court in Wenzhou to a six-year term of imprisonment for unlawfully printing Bibles and other
          religious materials.
          25. China replied:
          “We have the honour to acknowledge receipt of letter No. 0/50/214 (56-13)
          dated 17 February 2000 from the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission
          on Human Rights on religious intolerance. The Chinese Government has carefully
          investigated the allegations contained in this letter and wishes to make the following
          reply:
          I. Gao Kexian, a 74-year-old male from Boxing County, Shandong
          Province. Although the individual concerned is Catholic, he is not a
          priest. Inquiries made of the local public security services confirmed that
          he was not detained in any way. The allegation in the letter that ‘he was
          reportedly arrested by the police (in October 1999)' for refusing to agree
          to register with the Catholic Patriotic Association is inaccurate.
          II. Han Dingxiang, a 61-year-old male from Chengan County,
          Hebei Province; Quo Yibao, a 32-year-old male from the village of
          Anji, Humu commune, Xushui County, Hebei Province; Wang Zhenghe
          (the correct spelling of this name is Wang Zhenhe), a 32-year-old male
          from the village of Anzhuang, Xushui County; Xie Guolin (the correct
          spelling of this name is Xie Xiaolin) from the village of Xuguozhuang,
          Yangqie County, Baoding; Su Zhimin, a 68-year-old male from
        
          
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          Qingyuan County, Hebei Province; An Shuxin, a 51-year-old male from
          Xushui County, Hebei Province; Jia Zhiguo, a 65-year-old male from
          Jinxian County, Hebei Province.
          The investigation confirmed that the persons concerned are
          Catholic, but are neither priests nor bishops. No constraining measures -
          specifically, arrest or detention - were taken by the local police in respect
          of these individuals. They currently lead normal lives.
          III. Jiang Sunian (the correct spelling of this name is Jiang Surang), a
          31-year-old male from Cangnan County, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.
          While the individual concerned is indeed Catholic, he is not a
          priest. During the second half of 1997 he engaged in fraudulent activities
          which netted him some 120,000 yuan renminbi. On 5 April 2000, in
          accordance with article 12, section 1, and article 225 of the Criminal Law
          of the People's Republic of China, the Cangnan County People's Court
          sentenced him to six years' imprisonment for fraudulent activities.
          Freedom of religious belief is a fundamental right of the Chinese
          people. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China clearly
          stipulates that ‘citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom
          of religious belief No State organ, public organization or individual may
          compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may
          they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any
          religion.' Similar provisions protecting religious freedom and prohibiting
          any discrimination against citizens whether or not they are believers are
          contained in criminal law, civil law, legislation governing regional
          autonomy for national minorities and military service, compulsory
          education legislation, the electoral law relating to the People's Congress
          and the law establishing village committees. No one is detained, arrested
          or imprisoned in China for his or her religious beliefs. However, believers
          not only have the same rights but also have the same obligations under the
          law as non-believers. Any citizen, though enjoying religious freedom,
          must fulfil the obligations set out in the Constitution and in the law.
          No one is exempt from punishment for violations of the law simply on
          grounds of his or her religious convictions. Jiang Surang was sentenced
          because he broke the law, which has nothing to do with his faith.
          IV. Allegation that Catholics in Zhejiang Province were forced to become
          members of the Catholic Patriotic Association.
          A thorough investigation has confirmed that the allegation in the
          letter to the effect that Catholics in Zhejiang Province have been arrested
          and compelled to sign Catholic Patriotic Association membership forms or
          else their children would be prevented from attending school has no basis
          in fact. It should be stressed that China is a country of many faiths, and
        
          
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          believers tend to cherish their faith as much as their homeland. All the
          religions represented in China have established their own patriotic
          organizations which any one is free to join or not. Under no
          circumstances can it be said that people are forced to become members
          of the Catholic Patriotic Association.
          V. Allegation that two churches in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province were
          blown up.
          A thorough investigation has revealed that in 1998 the inhabitants
          of Cangnan County, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, acting without
          authorization from the public authorities, built a church on a plot of land
          in the village of Linguan, Pingdeng commune, Cangnan County, in serious
          violation of the Land Use Law of the People's Republic of China.
          On 31 December 1999, pursuant to the relevant provisions of that Law,
          the Cangnan County Office of Land Use had the church destroyed.
          Other inhabitants of the county, acting without authorization from
          the competent authorities, converted a factory into a church in Yanggong
          village, Lingqi commune, in violation of legislation of the People's
          Republic of China governing urban land use. On 15 December 1999 the
          Cangnan county authorities had the church destroyed, pursuant to the law.
          China is a State governed by rule of law. Under the policy which
          it pursues in the area of religious freedom, places of worship acquire legal
          status once they are legally registered, and the legitimate rights and
          interests associated with them are protected. Religious organizations have
          the right to complain to the competent authorities in respect of any
          violation of their rights and interests. They may prosecute the perpetrators
          of such violations in order to secure administrative and legal protection
          measures. Anyone who violates citizens' right to religious freedom or
          who infringes the legitimate rights and interests associated with places of
          worship is liable to criminal prosecution. The two buildings in question
          were destroyed, in the first case, because the procedures for obtaining
          authorization had not been followed in accordance with the relevant
          provisions of the Land Use Law before construction began, which meant
          that the land was illegally occupied, and, in the second case, because the
          building in question constituted a violation of the legislation governing
          urban land use. The action taken by the authorities concerned in these
          cases is fair and legal. It bears no connection of any sort to religion.”
          26. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, in December 1999,
          four leaders of the Falun Gong movement, Li Chang, Wang Zhiwen, Ji Liewu and Yao Lie,
          were reportedly given prison sentences in Beijing, officially for having illegally organized and
          practised a religion, for being responsible for a number of deaths and for having illegally
          obtained and disseminated State secrets. On 11 May 2000, some 200 Falun Gong practitioners
        
          
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          demonstrated to commemorate the birthday of the movement's founder and were immediately
          arrested by the police. In mid-June 2000, a total of 35,000 Falun Gong practitioners were
          allegedly arrested, and 84 of them were officially sentenced to prison, while 5,000 more were
          allegedly sent to re-education camps without a trial.
          27. In December 1999, Trinley Dorje, the seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, one of the most
          important Buddhist spiritual leaders, is reported to have left the Tibet Autonomous Region and
          gone to join the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. His decision to leave is said to have been the
          result of restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities in religious matters. In June 2000 new
          regulations were proclaimed orally at Lhasa by the local authorities with a view to prohibiting
          the possession of altars and religious obj ects in private homes (including the homes of officials)
          and banning visits to monasteries and temples by students during summer holidays; the latter
          measure was intended to put an end to practices perceived as being superstitious and backwards,
          such as praying for success in examinations.
          28. On 1 October 2000, the national holiday of the People's Republic of China, several
          hundred members of the Falun Gong sect demonstrated on Tiananmen Square. Most of the
          demonstrators were reportedly arrested by the police and placed in detention. The
          demonstration, which had been announced on the Falun Gong Web site, was preceded by mass
          arrests of at least 600 Falun Gong members.
          Côte d'Ivoire
          29. On 26 and 27 October 2000, during the presidential election, violent clashes between
          militants of the Front populaire ivoirien (FPI) and the Rassemblement des républicains (RDR)
          reportedly took on a religious tone. Political fighting turned into violent ethnic, but also
          religious, confrontations between Muslim Senufos and Dioulas from the north, who supported
          RDR, and Christians from the south, who supported FPI. As a result of this unrest at least
          several dozen people died and mosques and churches were destroyed.
          Egypt
          30. On 31 December 1999, in El-Kosheh, following a Christian merchant's refusal to sell
          fabric on credit to a Muslim, the Muslim in question, with the help of his family, allegedly tried
          to provoke a fight. The merchant and his relatives reportedly decided to avoid confrontation and
          went to lodge a complaint with the police. However, a police officer reportedly fired on the
          complainants and proceeded to arrest them. On 1 January 2000, Muslim clerics reportedly called
          upon the faithful to fight the Christians. Nineteen Christians and two Muslims are said to have
          died in the ensuing rioting.
          31. Egypt replied by transmitting two documents: first, a newspaper article on the events in
          El-Kosheh and a copy of the decision of the Office of the Attorney-General of Egypt containing
          the charges as finalized after investigation by that Office. The decision covers 96 persons
          charged with various crimes, including murder, theft and sabotage; and, secondly, an extract
          from a document, taken, apparently, from a statement indicating, far too briefly, the main forms
          of action taken by the Government in order to contain and prevent the aforementioned events.
        
          
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          32. The Special Rapporteur regrets the lack of effort and care taken with this reply, which is
          no reply at all, and requests Egypt to communicate its views and comments on the allegations
          summarized above.
          33. According to another communication from the Special Rapporteur, the Supreme
          Religious Court in Cairo declared the Baha'i faith a dangerous heresy in 1925. In 1960, all
          Baha'i assemblies were dissolved, their property and other assets confiscated and their religious
          activities banned. Nevertheless, Baha'is supposedly remained free as individuals to practise
          their religion in accordance with the freedom of religion guaranteed to all under the Constitution.
          To this day, however, the Baha'i community is said to be subjected to constant close
          surveillance: Baha'is are not allowed to meet in groups, especially for religious observances,
          and their literature is destroyed. It is alleged that they cannot legally celebrate their marriages,
          which are deemed to constitute concubinage, while the children born of such unions are regarded
          as illegitimate.
          34. According to a third communication, since May 2000 a hate campaign has been waged
          by extremists in Cairo against the author Haidar Haidar, who is accused, together with his
          publishers, the Ministry of Culture and liberal intellectuals, of blasphemy because of his novel
          A Feast of Seaweed . According to information from a variety of sources, this affair is being
          politically exploited by Muslim extremists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, in the context of
          the forthcoming legislative elections.
          35. Egypt has replied:
          “Concerning the campaign against the Minister of Culture and the Syrian author
          Haidar Haidar, when the General Assembly of Houses of Culture decided to publish a
          work entitled A Feast of Seaweed , the newspaper The People (formerly published by the
          Labour Party, whose activity has been suspended) took advantage of the opportunity to
          launch a media campaign against Ministry of Culture officials for publishing material
          that was secular in nature and was also, according to the paper, contrary to religious
          values and principles. While the paper's management attempted to justify their
          provocative position on the grounds that they were upholding religious convictions,
          their real motives appear to have been rooted in an attempt to win electoral support
          with a view to the prospective legislative elections, in which the Labour Party intends
          to participate.”
          Concerning measures taken to prevent extremists from taking over mosques, Egypt has the
          following to say:
          “(a) Management of all mosques and shrines has been centralized in the hands
          of the Ministry of Awqaf [ Islamic endowmentsl; that Ministry now has responsibility
          for 50,000 mosques and 10,000 shrines;
          (b) Every person not expressly authorized to do so is prohibited from
          mounting a mosque pulpit and delivering a sermon, inasmuch as the law requires a
          statement from the Ministry of Awqaf;
        
          
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          (c) There have been various judicial measures aimed at thwarting any attempt
          to make use of mosques for unlawful purposes.”
          36. The Special Rapporteur thanks Egypt for the information concerning measures to combat
          the political exploitation of religion (particularly the posting of security personnel in places of
          worship) as part of a genuine medium- and long-term strategy for the prevention of religious
          extremism.
          Eritrea
          37. Because conscientious-objector status is not recognized in the context of military service,
          Jehovah's Witnesses are liable to prison terms of three years. This situation continues, and
          Eritrea does not appear to be contemplating any measures that would bring this policy into line
          with international law.
          Russian Federation
          38. On 11 August 1999, in St. Petersburg, the Jehovah's Witnesses reportedly applied for a
          permit to rebuild a religious centre. On 22 November 1999, the Governor's Office allegedly
          replied that the St. Petersburg Jehovah's Witnesses had enough religious centres to meet their
          needs and, moreover, because of the state of public opinion in the city, it would be inexpedient to
          open another centre.
          39. The Russian Federation replied:
          “The matter referred to in the Special Rapporteur's letter is exclusively technical
          in nature and is unrelated to the issue of freedom of religion. For the Special
          Rapporteur's information, the facts are as follows:
          Block 3A Pogranichnika Garkovogo Street in St. Petersburg is a former municipal
          building, now vacant, that has been acquired by the head office of the congregation of
          Jehovah's Witnesses. On 15 August 1999 the congregation applied to a number of the
          city's subdivisions and administrative services for authorization to renovate the building
          completely and turn it into a public meeting hall and place of worship.
          This application produced a series of responses from the various municipal
          authorities. In general, the authorities took the position that since the building in
          question was located in a residential area and in the immediate vicinity of housing
          complexes, permission to renovate the building and change its type of occupancy should
          be subject to the applicability of all regulations and requirements governing buildings or
          municipally-owned land. Those regulations and requirements specify, inter alia , that
          green spaces must be preserved, that additional water supply and drainage pipes must be
          installed, that access routes must be suitably reconfigured, and that certain urban
          planning work must be carried out. Furthermore, the authorities considered that the
          freely expressed views of the residents of the area should be taken into account.
        
          
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          Accordingly, a ruling was issued to the effect that a survey should be conducted to
          determine what the local residents thought of the prospect of a public place of worship
          on their doorstep.
          Agreement was reached in May 2000, whereupon the City of St. Petersburg's
          Urban Planning Architecture Committee authorized the head office of the congregation
          of Jehovah's Witnesses to proceed with preliminary studies with a view to the renovation
          of the building referred to above.
          At present, now that a new municipal administration has taken office following
          the recent election of the Governor of St. Petersburg, a number of documents relating to
          the renovation of the building are undergoing further review by the municipal
          authorities.”
          40. The Special Rapporteur requests the Russian Federation to inform him of any further
          action taken as a result of the further review.
          41. According to a second communication, on 20 August 2000 a group of armed men calling
          themselves the Almighty Cossack Army of the Don were reported to have broken up a meeting
          of Jehovah's Witnesses in Volgograd, threatening them and destroying Bibles and other
          religious literature. Afterwards the minister of the congregation was allegedly beaten by
          members of the same group. On 21 August 2000 this group once again attacked a gathering of
          Jehovah's Witnesses in Volgograd.
          Georgia
          42. On 17 October 1999, a mob lead by Bassilists (followers of the teaching of a priest
          excommunicated by the Georgian Orthodox Church) is alleged to have perpetrated a violent
          attack on 120 Jehovah's Witnesses, including women and children, during a religious service in
          Tbilisi. The police were called but reportedly refused to protect the Jehovah's Witnesses, 15 of
          whom are said to have been hosptalized. These events were reportedly filmed and subsequently
          broadcast by the local media. The victims are said to have lodged a complaint with the Office of
          the Public Prosecutor.
          43. Georgia replied:
          “On 29 February 2000, the Permanent Mission of Georgia received an official
          reply from the Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council on Human Rights
          Issues of Georgia, which states that, on 17 October 1999, a group of Bassilists indeed
          reportedly attacked Jehovah's Witnesses. Based on this fact, on 18 October 1999,
          proceedings were instituted by the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal
          Affairs of Georgia.
          A number of investigation activities have been carried out and 100 witnesses have
          been examined. However, additional work which should be done requires the
          continuation of the case. As soon as further information is available, it will be
          immediately forwarded to you.”
        
          
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          44. According to a second communication concerning the preceding allegations,
          on 9 June 2000 the Investigation Department of the Ministry of the Interior municipal service
          charged Mr. Mirian Arabidze, a Jehovah's Witness, with assault during the attacks that took
          place in October 1999, even though he had in fact been a victim. The local Jehovah's Witnesses
          representative allegedly claimed that the failure of the prosecutor's offices in Gldani and Tbilisi
          to take action against the perpetrators of the attacks sent a clear message that violence was
          acceptable.
          45. Georgia replied:
          “Recently, Gldani District Court of Tbilisi considered the criminal case and
          sentenced to conditional punishment two persons - Jehovah's Witnesses. As for the
          accused of the opposite party, the court considered the preliminary investigation to be
          insufficient. The criminal case regarding the accused persons has been returned to the
          relevant investigative bodies for additional investigation. This court decision was
          appealed by both the Jehovah's Witnesses and the prosecutor's office in Thilisi. We had
          conversations with the Prosecutor of Thilisi and he informed us that they were going to
          prepare special conclusions in this regard and to make the relevant submissions to the
          higher court. The case is to be considered by Tbilisi Circuit Court, as provided for by the
          Code of Criminal Procedure of Georgia. It is our hope that the following consideration
          of the case will be fair and impartial.
          In this context, it should be mentioned that there is a biased attitude towards the
          Jehovah's Witnesses in Georgian society. Recently, there were some facts which aroused
          public anxiety. The question is that Jehovah's Witnesses refused to allow appropriate
          medical treatment (blood transfusion) owing to their beliefs. As a result, a young woman
          patient - a Jehovah's Witness - died. It is also worth mentioning that there have been a
          number of citizens' complaints concerning the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses aimed at
          attracting new members by using bribes (money, food, etc.). In this connection, we are
          going to make amendments to the Criminal Code of Georgia in order to forbid unlawful
          proselytism, as has been done in some European countries. The elaboration of these
          amendments is under way.”
          46. The Special Rapporteur thanks Georgia for its reply, which has the merit of highlighting
          the problem of society's attitude to a particular group in the area of religion and belief With
          regard to proselytism, the Special Rapporteur wishes to recall that the Human Rights Committee,
          in its General Comment No. 22 of 20 July 1993, on article 18 of the International Covenant on
          Civil and Political Rights, held that restrictions on the freedom to manifest religion or belief are
          permissible only if they are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order,
          health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; and must not be applied in a
          manner that would vitiate the right to freedom of thought, conscience or religion. The
          Committee also maintained that “limitations may be applied only for those purposes for which
          they were prescribed and must be directly related and proportionate to the specific need on which
          they are predicated. Restrictions may not be imposed for discriminatory purposes or applied in a
          discriminatory manner.”
        
          
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          47. According to a third communication, in July 2000, in the Gldani district of Tbilisi,
          Vladimir Marikyan and Sergey Barsigyan, Jehovah's Witnesses, were reportedly hit by a group
          of at least 12 Bassilists, who also reportedly destroyed their religious tracts. On 28 July 2000, a
          group of Bassilists allegedly attacked a bus carrying Jehovah's Witnesses to a religious rally in
          Marneuli, roughing up the travellers. On 20 August 2000, in Tianeti, the chief of district police,
          assisted by three police officers, reportedly broke up a Baptist religious service. The police are
          reported to have destroyed objects of worship and taken Pastor Kalatozishvili to the police
          station in order to put pressure on him to give up his work in the Baptist Church in favour of the
          Orthodox Church.
          48. According to a fourth communication, on 28 September 2000, police officers from
          Gldani and Ndzaladevi districts in Thilisi attempted to confiscate literature from the
          Hare Krishna Movement, but the attempt was unsuccessful because of the intervention of a
          lawyer representing the Movement. On 24 September 2000, however, 100 tons of literature from
          the Movement were reportedly confiscated by the police.
          Greece
          49. Primary and secondary school curricula include compulsory instruction in the Orthodox
          religion for pupils of that faith. This then raises the question as to whether pupils who were
          baptized Orthodox but are not observant or have become atheist should be exempted.
          Representative of the Muslim community in Athens have reportedly complained of the absence
          of religious instruction in Islam in school curricula. In April 2000 a synagogue in Thessaloniki
          was reportedly vandalized, while similar acts reportedly occurred in Jewish cemeteries in
          May 2000.
          50. Greece has replied:
          “Under article 13, paragraph 1, of the Hellenic Constitution, on the inviolability
          of freedom of religious conscience, the Minister of Education and Worship has
          repeatedly issued circulars and responses based on said article, i.e. on protection of
          pupils' freedom of religious conscience. In particular, secondary school pupils who are
          non-Orthodox Christians, members of another religion, have no religion or are atheist are
          exempted from religious instructions, prayers, attendance at mass and religious
          ceremonies when both parents or, in cases of divorce, the parent having legal custody
          of the pupil, submit a statement under honour to that effect
          Article 13, paragraph 13, of Presidential Decree No. 201/98 protects primary
          school pupils' right to religious tolerance. As for the protest raised by the Muslim
          community in Athens, under Law No. 1566/85, the purpose of primary and secondary
          education is to contribute to the multilateral, harmonious and balanced development of
          pupils' mental and psychosomatic capacities so that, regardless of their sex or origin, they
          may become accomplished persons and live a creative life. Implementation of these
          measures is first and foremost the responsibility of the State, which guarantees all pupils,
          regardless of their religion, the best possible conditions for attending school without
        
          
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          impediment. The State is also responsible for the religious education of pupils. In all
          schools in Greece Orthodox Christianity is the only faith taught, since most Greek pupils
          are Orthodox, whereas education in another faith is practically impossible, since the
          number of pupils who are believers in other religions is very limited. It is equally
          impossible for every school to have a religion teacher for pupils who belong to another
          denomination or religion. Thus the measures that apply to Muslims in any primary
          school apply to all non-Orthodox pupils. Consequently, the protest by the leaders of the
          Muslim community in Athens proves the opposite point, for they are seeking special
          treatment for their own religion; however, as noted above, it is practically impossible to
          have special religion teachers in primary schools. Apart from this it must be noted that
          Greece's treatment of non-Christian churches and non-Orthodox dogmas is determined
          by the objectives set in the religious curriculum, namely that pupils must be aware that all
          children of the world are brothers and that everyone must acquire a foundation that will
          enable him or her to survive and develop. Religious awareness, then, is based on the
          principles of equality and mutual respect for the religion of pupils, and this is clearly
          presented in several chapters of primary school textbooks. This holds true for secondary
          education as well. In schools attended by Muslims students, most of whom come from
          the Xanthi and Rodoppi region, teachers from their community teach them their religion
          and their language along with Greek language and history. Consequently, the protest by
          the leaders of the Muslim community in Athens is unfounded.
          As regards the desecration of a Jewish synagogue and graves, investigations by
          the competent authorities have not resulted in the identification or arrest of the
          perpetrators. These were most likely the isolated acts of persons with extremist views.”
          51. The Special Rapporteur thanks Greece for this detailed information on religious
          education in the schools. While he appreciates the difficulties inherent in teaching minority
          religions in geographical areas where there are too few pupils belonging to these faiths, the
          Special Rapporteur encourages the Government to hold consultations with minorities, including
          the Muslim community in Athens, in order to find practical solutions to facilitate the teaching of
          minority religions to those desiring such instruction.
          Hungary
          52. In May 2000 tax and customs legislation was reportedly amended to limit the tax
          exemptions available to churches having contracts with the State. This modification allegedly
          stripped most religious communities (such as Seventh-day Adventists, Evangelicals, Methodists
          and Pentecostalists) of their tax-exempt status, leaving only six churches exempt.
          India
          53. In November 1999 in Orissa State the Government reportedly adopted an order in the
          form of an amendment to the Freedom of Religion Act, prohibiting all conversions without prior
          authorization from the local police and the district magistrate.
        
          
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          54. India replied:
          “The notification No. 63286 dated 26 November 1999 issued by the Government
          of Orissa relating to the Orissa Freedom of Religion Amendment Rules, 1999, does not
          require a citizen wishing to convert to seek permission of the local police and the district
          magistrate. As per the amendment rule, only an intimation is required by way of prior
          information to the district magistrate. The purpose of the amended rule is to restrict
          forcible, unlawful, immoral and fraudulent inducement for conversion.”
          55. While recalling that freedom of religion does not justify the exploitation of social
          instability and poverty for purposes of conversion, the Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate the
          observations made with regard to Georgia (see para. 46 above) by referring to the Human Rights
          Committee's General Comment No. 22 of 20 July 1993, concerning article 18 of the
          International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which deals with restrictions that may be
          placed on the freedom to manifest religion or belief
          56. According to another communication from the Special Rapporteur, on 20 March 2000 in
          the village of Chatisinghpura, south of Srinagar, 36 Sikhs were reportedly murdered by Muslim
          extremists. In New Delhi, the Prime Minister's security advisor identified two extremist groups
          that may have been involved in this massacre, namely the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the
          Hizb-ul Mujahideen.
          57. India replied:
          “A group of approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists carried out a massacre
          of 30 Sikhs in Chatisinghpura village of Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir
          on 20 March 2000. After entering the village, the terrorists segregated the male Sikhs
          from their women and children and massacred them. The terrorists, who belonged to
          the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Hizb-ul Mujahideen, were wearing military combat
          fatigues. The Indian investigating agencies made a breakthrough by arresting
          Mohammad Yakub Wagey, a terrorist of Hizb-ul Mujahideen who is a resident of outer
          Chatisinghpura. Wagey revealed that the terrorist group involved in the massacre
          included some local Hizb-ul Mujahideen terrorists but the overwhelming majority were
          foreign terrorists belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba. He confirmed that the terrorists,
          after reaching the village, called all male Sikhs from their houses and divided them into
          two groups. Both the groups were subsequently fired upon and killed. The security
          forces succeeded in carrying out an operation on 25 March during which five foreign
          mercenaries were killed in Anantnag district. These mercenaries were also wearing
          combat uniforms. Five AK series rifles, two wireless sets and several grenades were
          found in their possession. Investigations and further operations have continued in terms
          of case No. 85/2000 under relevant provisions of the law. The allegations that this was
          the first attack on the Sikhs is totally false. More than 40 Sikhs have been killed in
          Jammu and Kashmir between 1995 and the incident in question. In fact, one of the aims
          of this brutal massacre of innocent Sikhs was to cause an exodus of Sikhs from Kashmir,
          as has been the case with Hindus. Crime No. 85/2000 has been registered in the
          Anantnag police station and investigation of the case is going on.”
        
          
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          58. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, Christian institutions and
          individuals have reportedly been the targets of violent acts of intolerance.
          59. India replied by recalling the legal and institutional guarantees of non-discrimination
          for all communities, including minorities. India's policy is based on a commitment to
          safeguarding the interests of minorities and to ensuring that any violent incident is met with
          action by the State against the perpetrators of the act within the framework of the law. The
          reply went on to say:
          “The incidents reported are actually incidents of law and order/crime related
          to thefts, personal enmity, land/property disputes, disputes over admissions/fee hikes
          in schools, etc. which cannot be construed as communal. In the case of Uttar Pradesh,
          a team from the National Commission for Minorities had visited various places of
          occurrence and substantiated the foregoing acts and concluded that no communal
          angle was evident and no organized/unorganized group was responsible for the
          incidents.”
          60. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, in March 2000 acts of
          vandalism were perpetrated against a technical training institute run by the Capuchin Fathers in
          Surya Nagar.
          61. India replied:
          “In the night of 12/13 March, some unknown antisocial elements, after breaking
          open locks of Media House (a computer institution) at Surya Nagar, Ohaziabad, took
          away the CPUs of computers along with some other articles. The local police have
          registered a case under relevant provisions of law, and the matter is under investigation.
          Thus, this is a clear case of theft.”
          62. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, in March 2000 the Sacred
          Heart School and its principal were attacked.
          63. India replied:
          “On 6 April 2000 (and not on 6 March 2000, as stated in the communication) a
          Dharana (sit-in strike) was organized by the students and parents in front of Sacred Heart
          School, Mathura, against a hike in school fees and an increase in the percentage for
          passing in the examinations from 33 to 40 per cent. The issue was settled peacefully
          on 13 April 2000 in a meeting with the parents and school management and local
          administration.”
          64. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, in April 2000 three nuns
          were reportedly assaulted in Haryanan while on their way to the Rewari Catholic church to
          celebrate Easter.
        
          
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          65. India replied:
          “On 22 April 2000, at about 11.45 p.m., two nuns, namely Sister Anandi and
          Pratima Topo, were going to the Rewari Catholic Church to offer prayers when a
          scooterist hit Sister Anandi from the rear, as a result of which she fell down. Later, on
          her complaint, the matter was investigated and it was revealed that the accident occurred
          due to poor visibility on account of darkness due to stormy weather. The scooterist was
          apprehended and a case was registered against him.”
          66. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, the assistant priest of
          St. Dominic Church and the Principal of St. Dominic School were assaulted in Mathura in
          April 2000.
          67. India replied:
          “On 10 April 2000, Father Joseph, Principal, St. Dominic School, Mathura, was
          manhandled following a scuffle over the refusal of admission to students in the school.
          On the complaint of the principal, the Police registered a case against one Suresh Chand
          Sharma and four or five others. Two persons surrendered in the District Court at
          Mathura on 13 April 2000.”
          68. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, a priest and two nuns were
          reportedly injured in an attack against the Sacred Heart School and convent.
          69. India replied:
          “In the night of 10/11 April, around 10 unknown miscreants entered St. Theresa's
          School/Church located at Nand Gaon Road, Kosikalan, Mathura, and manhandled
          Mr. K.K. Thomas, manager-cum-principal of the school, and two sisters, namely
          Miss Marry and Sr. Gloria. The miscreants took away about Rs. one lakh in cash.
          On the complaint of Mr. K. K. Thomas, the police registered a case in Kosilakan police
          station against the unknown miscreants under the relevant provisions of the Indian
          Penal Code.”
          70. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, on 16 April a convent in
          Bijnor was attacked.
          71. India replied:
          “On the night of 15/16 April 2000, some miscreants carrying locally made arms
          entered the hostel of nuns of St. Mary School near Timarpur village, Bijnor district, and
          committed thefts in two Christian houses. Later, they went to the nuns' hostel and fired
          four rounds in the air to terrorize them, but the nuns did not open the door and started
          shouting. Villagers came out to help and fired in the air. As a result the miscreants ran
          away. A case has been registered.”
        
          
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          72. According to a communication from the Special Rapporteur, Ashish Prebash, head of
          evangelism in Punjab for the Campus Crusade for Christ was murdered in his home in 2000.
          On 8 June 2000 a Catholic priest in Mathura, George Kuzhikandan, was reportedly beaten to
          death in his home on the campus of the Brother Polus Memorial School. On 1 October 2000
          Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsangckalak KS. Sudarshan asked the central
          Government to expel all Christian missionaries from India.
          Indonesia
          73. On 17 January 2000, in Mataram on the island of Lombok, 12 churches and a number
          of Christian-owned properties were reportedly destroyed, and the Christian population had to
          flee to Bali. After the army intervened and order was restored, signs of provocation reappeared,
          such as the presence of hog carcasses in mosques. On 6 May 2000, in the village of Akidri,
          Halmahera Island district, North Maluku, rioting reportedly resulted in the destruction of a
          church and the houses of 10 Christian families. Similar attacks were reported on the island
          of Buru. The attacks were allegedly organized by a Muslim extremist group known as
          Laskar Jihad Sunnah Wal Jamaah, which is said to have threatened to carryjihad into the
          Molucca Islands.
          74. Owing to protests and accusations of blasphemy from the Surakarta Islamic Youth Front
          regarding an interview conducted in February 2000 with a priest who had stated that there were
          many similarities between the Koran and the Bible and that the Prophet had been a Christian
          before becoming a Muslim, radio station PTPN Rasitania in Surakarta was reportedly compelled
          to refrain from broadcasting for a week and made to apologize. The Alliance of Independent
          Journalists reportedly went to the police and presented a statement of protest against those
          measures. The police are said to have arrested the priest who gave the interview on charges of
          violating the Criminal Code's provisions on religious contempt.
          75. On 19 June 2000 at least 500 Muslim extremists known as Laskar Jihad (Jihad Warriors)
          attacked the Christian village of Duma on Halmahera Island. Clashes are said to have caused the
          deaths of 127 Christians (including women and children) and eight Muslims. Some 292 houses
          were burnt and a church destroyed by bombs. The 30 soldiers on the scene were unable to stop
          the violence. The Muslim extremists wounded two soldiers and were then dispersed by army
          reinforcements.
          76. On 26 September 2000 a Muslim extremist group in the Moluccas called Laskar Jihad
          is reported to have attacked the Christian village of Hative Besar in the provincial capital of
          Ambon. At least eight Christians were killed and another 10 wounded. The army apparently
          did not intervene, and in some cases is said to have assisted the extremists.
          Iran (Islamic Republic of)
          77. The urgent appeal referred to further information relating to allegations that
          three Baha'is, Sirus Dhabihi-Muqaddam, Hidayat-Kashifi Najafabadi and Ata'ullah Hamid
          Nasirizadih, had been sentenced to death. This matter had been the subject of a previous
          urgent appeal, which, together with the reply from the Islamic Republic of Iran, may be
        
          
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          found in paragraphs 66 and 67 of document E/CN.4/1999/58. On 3 February 2000
          Mr. Dhabihi-Muqaddam and Mr. Najafabadi were reportedly informed orally that the verdict in
          their case, namely the death sentence, had been confirmed. The same court reportedly sentenced
          Manuchehr Khulusi to death as well. This person was reportedly arrested in Birjand
          eight months ago and transferred to the Masshad prison because of his Baha'i activities.
          78. The Islamic Republic of Iran provided the following reply:
          “I would like to inform you that the spokesman of the judiciary denied any
          confirmation of death sentence against Sims Dhabihi-Muqaddam, Hidayat-Kashifi
          Najafabadi and Manuchehr Khulusi. He stated that the cases of the above-mentioned
          persons are still under consideration by the Supreme Court.”
          79. On 25 September 2000 the Special Rapporteur was informed by non-governmental
          sources that the Supreme Court had ruled that the verdicts against Sims Dhabihi-Muqaddam and
          Hidayat-Kashifi Najafabadi were unfounded and that the cases had been referred back to a court.
          It was also stated that Manuchehr Khulusi had been released in May 2000. Additional
          information from the Islamic Republic of Iran is thus very much desired.
          Israel
          80. In recent years, Jewish prayer sites are reported to have been established, without official
          authorization, on Muslim graves, resulting in serious damage to religious antiquities. However,
          no legal proceedings have been instituted against those responsible. For example, at a location
          near the town of Modi'in, persons of the Jewish faith are alleged to have committed acts of
          vandalism against a Muslim burial ground and to have declared the place to be the burial site of
          Matiyahu Ben-Yohanan. Near Holon a synagogue has been built on the tomb of a sheikh in a
          Muslim cemetery after a Jewish religious group declared it to be the site of the tomb of
          Shimon Ben-Ya'akov. Also, young persons of the Jewish faith are said to have established a
          prayer site for the prophet Reuven on a Muslim site near Palmahim beach south of Tel Aviv.
          Italy
          81. In a pastoral letter on immigration dated 14 September 2000, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi,
          Archbishop of Bologna, wrote that Italy should give preference to Christian immigrants over
          Muslims. “Even though Catholicism is no longer the State religion,” he explained, “it remains
          the historic religion of the nation.” Muslims, however, “have a different diet, different holy
          days, an approach to family rights that is incompatible with our own, and [ a differenfl attitude
          toward women ... and ... a rigorous plan for uniting public and religious life.” He concluded,
          “Rather than Muslims, then, we should encourage the immigration of Catholics from
          Latin America, the Philippines or Eritrea.”
          82. On 14 and 15 December 2000 the Northern League, a political party, organized a
          demonstration in Mantua to protest against the construction of a mosque on a site belonging to
          the municipality; a priest is said to have held a religious service on the protest site.
        
          
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          Jordan
          83. On 23 March 2000, Muslim extremists reportedly accused the writer Musa Hawamdeh
          of apostasy because of his alleged criticisms of Islam and called for him to be put to death. The
          former member of Parliament Abdel Moneim Abu Zant is said to have declared that the writer
          had distorted the divine words of the prophet Joseph in Egypt. He apparently called the writer an
          apostate, demanded that he should repent or be declared an apostate by the authorities, which
          would have led to his divorce and to application of the death penalty.
          84. In June 2000 the mayor of Amman reportedly ordered the Jordanian Arab Orthodox
          Church closed and forbade the priest, Stephanos Kamal Farahat, to hold worship services.
          On 16 June 2000 a Jordanian civil administrator ordered the closing of another Jordanian Arab
          Orthodox Church in Swaileh.
          85. Jordan responded by transmitting a reply from the Deputy Prime Minister and the
          Minister of the Interior:
          “... on 25 September 1998 the Council of Roman Orthodox Churches in Jordan
          and Palestine decided to ban the aforementioned Farahat, who was a member of the
          Roman Orthodox Patriarchate in Jordan, from exercising his vocation, taking on any
          ecclesiastical activity and making any official statements on the grounds that he had
          been disrespectful towards the laws of the Church and had rebelled against his spiritual
          superiors. Since that decision was taken, the individual in question has continued, with
          the help of Father Philip Saliba, Antiochian Bishop in the United States of America, to
          perform his religious duties through the Beit Sahour Association without having
          obtained the proper authorizations. We then received a letter dated 9 May 2000 from
          His Excellency the Prime Minister of Jordan, to which was attached a letter from
          Father Diodore I, Patriarch of the Roman Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, in which the
          Patriarch strongly condemned the opening of a new church by said Farahat in Amman in
          the name of the Arab Orthodox Church without the consent of the Patriarchate, which, in
          accordance with Law No. 27 of 1958 of the Patriarchate of the Roman Orthodox Church,
          is the sole entity authorized to open churches and related establishments in Jordan.
          Consequently, the Patriarchate had asked the authorities concerned to prevent him from
          continuing his activities under the auspices of the aforementioned association. It should
          be noted that no officially recognized Orthodox Church has been closed, and Farahat
          was authorized to continue performing his functions by virtue of my letter
          dated 9 September 2000, which was addressed to His Excellency the Governor of the
          capital.”
          86. Jordan has also stressed that it “is not only a model of religious coexistence and
          cooperation, but has always exerted a huge part of its efforts in the pursuit of interfaith dialogue
          between Muslims, Christians and Jews, and has called for the strengthening of understanding
          between these three faiths.”
          87. The Special Rapporteur thanks Jordan for its clear, precise and substantiated reply.
        
          
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          Kazakhstan
          88. In June 2000, in the village of Derbesek, Saryagach District (south-east of Shymkent),
          the police allegedly raided an unregistered association of Jehovah's Witnesses, confiscating their
          literature. The Department of National Security for the South Kazakhstan oblast is said to have
          initiated criminal proceedings on grounds of organizing and participating in an illegal public
          association.
          Kuwait
          89. It is reported that in January 2000 the writer Layla al-Uthmen was sentenced to
          two months in prison for blasphemy on account of her book, Le depart ( Departure) , in which
          she “used lascivious images, apparently to depict the relationship between one sea wave and
          another.” On 27 March 2000 an appeal court reportedly upheld the charges but reduced the
          sentence of imprisonment to a fine of 1,000 Kuwaiti dinars.
          90. Kuwait replied that Layla al-Uthman had been tried for breaking the country's laws and,
          specifically, for offending public decency because of the expressions used in her work Le depart .
          It was emphasized that this was not a case of religious intolerance. It was confirmed that
          on 22 January 2000 the writer had been sentenced to two months in prison, and that
          on 26 March 2000 the sentence had been reduced on appeal to 1,000 dinars. The charges
          were offending public decency and the fundamental values of society.
          Latvia
          91. Latvian legislation makes no provision for civilian service as an alternative to military
          service. Conscientious objectors who are not covered by the December 1999 amendment to the
          Compulsory Military Service Act (an exemption is given to clerics and persons undertaking
          religious training in organizations registered with the Ministry of Justice) are liable to terms of
          imprisonment.
          92. Latvia replied that since the restoration of independence, the Government had stressed its
          goal of protecting human rights through national legislation and its accession to 51 international
          instruments. It was explained that the Government protected the freedom of religion and belief,
          including the right to alternative forms of service for conscientious objectors.
          “On 2 February 1997 the Compulsory Military Service Act was adopted by the
          Latvian Parliament, thus amending the provisions for alternative service which were in
          force as from March 1990. The Act in a certain degree reflects existing financial and
          administrative difficulties in fully implementing the provisions for alternative service,
          at the same time retaining a number of provisions of the former legislative act.
          One example is paragraph 21, subparagraph 7, of the Act, which states that ordained
          clerics belonging to religious organizations registered by the Ministry of Justice and
          persons being trained in educational institutions of these religious organizations to
          become members of their clerical staff are exempted from compulsory military service.
        
          
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          By the Decree of the Prime Minister of 18 October 2000, the Ministry of Defence
          established a working group that will elaborate the necessary regulations for the
          implementation of the provisions for alternative service. The head of the group is the
          Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and its members are the
          representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Welfare, the Ministry of
          Foreign Affairs and various non-governmental organizations, including religious
          organizations. The deadline for the submission of the relevant draft regulations to the
          Cabinet of Ministers is 1 May 2001. Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence has organized
          several public events concerning this relevant issue, such as a conference headed by the
          Minister of Defence, social studies and others. The Government will continue the
          process, which leads to the establishment of balance among the interests of various social
          groups.”
          93. The Special Rapporteur would be grateful if the Latvian authorities would keep him
          regularly informed of the work of the working groups established by the Minister of Defence.
          Lebanon
          94. On 3 January 2000, Sister Antoinette Zaidan, a Maronite, is alleged to have been raped
          and strangled by Muslim extremists while on her way to her convent. Her body was apparently
          discovered near the Science Faculty between Hadeth and Kfarchima. That same day, in the
          village of Kfar Abou in northern Lebanon, a group of Muslim extremists known as “Al-Takfir
          Wal Higra” reportedly murdered two Christian women, Salma Yazbeck and her pregnant
          sister-in-law Sarah Yazbeck. These extremists reportedly decapitated Sarah Yazbeck and
          dismembered her body. It is said that, on 1 January 2000, a bomb attack was carried out in the
          Christian village of Kolaia. In November 1999, Muslim extremists allegedly set fire to four
          churches: on 3 November, the Maronite Church of Saint George in Dekuwane was bombed,
          killing the deacon, Chafiq Rajha; on 14 November, an identical attack was perpetrated against
          the Orthodox Church of Saint Mikhail in Tripoli; on 16 November, the Church of Haoush Hala
          in Zahle came under machine-gun fire; and, for several days in November, rockets were
          fired at the Church of Aishie in southern Lebanon, even though worshippers were inside the
          building.
          The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
          95. It is reported that Saso Gjeorgiev, a Jehovah's Witness from Stip, was sentenced
          to 60 days imprisonment in November 1999 for refusing to perform military service. His two
          appeals against this sentence were apparently dismissed, and accordingly his sentence was set
          to run from 15 June 2000. Since conscientious objection is not recognized, the only form of
          exemption from military service applicable to soldiers citing objections on religious grounds
          is a waiver of the requirement to bear arms and the extension of military service from 9
          to 14 months. Failure to report for military service is punishable under the Defence Act by a
          fine or a maximum penalty of 60 days' imprisonment and under the Criminal Code by a
          maximum penalty of one year's imprisonment in peacetime.
        
          
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          Malaysia
          96. In June 2000 the Government reportedly decided that all Muslim civil servants should be
          required to attend courses on Islam. These courses, which focus exclusively on Islam to the
          exclusion of other religions in Malaysia, are apparently not optional and are therefore an
          obligation for all Muslim civil servants. This measure is of questionable compatibility with the
          principle of the neutrality of the civil service.
          97. The Malaysian Government replied:
          “... in Malaysia, freedom of religion is guaranteed for each and every citizen, as
          enshrined in article 3 (1) of the Federal Constitution. As such, no one can be coerced into
          professing a religion against his will. For its own part, the Malaysian Government has
          reiterated its commitment to ensuring that the right to religious freedom is not infringed
          and to the importance of religious tolerance. As you are aware, Malaysia is a
          multicultural and multi-religious country. Consequently, the Malaysian Government
          takes its responsibility to promote religious and cultural harmony very seriously and to
          this end has instituted many programmes and activities, many of which have been
          successful. It should therefore come as no surprise that the Government views
          deviationist religious teachings with great concern, particularly in Islam, which is the
          official religion of Malaysia. These deviationist teachings are often extremist and violent
          in nature and, if left unchecked, will destroy the social harmony which has been built up
          through the years. Hence, the Malaysian Government had proposed that government
          agencies conduct classes in order to explain to civil servants the true message of Islam
          and, in so doing, quell the spread of such deviationist teachings. These classes are open
          to all and, while attendance is encouraged, it should be emphasized that they are by no
          means mandatory. Furthermore, it should be noted that these classes build on those
          already held in the past, albeit done then in an ad hoc manner. Given that these classes
          have been conducted with the aim of promoting religious harmony, the Malaysian
          Government fails to see merit in the allegation that attending these classes would
          impair the neutrality of civil servants. While civil servants are required to be
          politically neutral, all Malaysians are expected to play their role in the promotion of
          religious and cultural harmony. Indeed, it is entirely possible that, as Islam exhorts its
          believers to be fair and just to all regardless of religious and political belief, rather than
          impairing the neutrality of civil servants, these classes may in the end emphasize the
          principle of neutrality.”
          98. The Special Rapporteur appreciates the Malaysian authorities' legitimate desire to
          combat all forms of extremism and requests the Malaysian Government to apprise him of the
          programme and contents of the courses for civil servants. The Special Rapporteur believes
          that such training should instil a culture of human rights based on the principles of
          non-discrimination and tolerance with regard to religion and belief
        
          
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          Maldives
          99. The law apparently restricts non-Muslim religious ceremonies. The public celebration of
          non-Muslim religious rites is forbidden and must be strictly limited to the private sphere.
          Consequently, only mosques may be built. School curricula include mandatory teaching of
          Is lam.
          Mexico
          100. On 29 June 2000, at Tres Cruces in the municipality of San Juan Chamula in Chiapas,
          Sacario Hernandez Hernández was reportedly accused by local leaders of having converted to
          Protestantism and was fined 500 pesos. On 11 July 2000, Sacario Hernández Hernández and his
          mother were allegedly arrested by local leaders and a local reserve judge for non-payment of
          their fine. On 12 July 2000, Sacario's two brothers were also arrested and detained by the same
          group. Three members of the Hernández family were subsequently released after they had paid
          their fine but were allegedly warned never to return to Tres Cruces. The Tres Cruces leaders
          then announced that anyone who refused to sign a declaration of allegiance to the local religion
          would be fined.
          Myanmar
          101. On 12 June 2000, the State Peace and Development Council allegedly ordered
          the demolition of a Pentacostal church in Cherry Street, Haka, capital of Chin State, even
          though the building had been erected in 1999 with the approval of the Ministry of Religious
          Affairs.
          102. In Arakan State, the authorities are apparently pursuing a discriminatory policy against
          the Rohingya community because of its adherence to Islam. On 5 June 2000 a decree was issued
          which extended these restrictions to Hindus and Muslims working for non-governmental and
          intergovernmental organizations. Persons in this category must henceforth apply to the
          Department of Immigration for permission to travel in Arakan State. The discrimination takes
          the form of delayed travel authorizations and additional costs.
          103. The authorities are pursuing an intolerant and discriminatory religious policy. As far as
          Buddhism - the dominant faith - is concerned, the authorities have reportedly started to monitor
          Buddhist communities through nine officially recognized monastic orders. The religious life of
          the Christian minority has been obstructed, through interference with religious services in Chin
          and Karen States and the prevention of church building in Kachin State. The Muslim minority
          is said to be denied freedom of religion. Since 1999, anti-Islamic leaflets accusing Muslims of
          scheming to subvert other religions and establish an Islamic fundamentalist regime in Myanmar
          have been distributed at the instigation of the authorities. This discriminatory policy, together
          with the destruction and closure of mosques, has resulted in an exodus of2l,000 Rohinga
          Muslims from Arakan State since 1992.
        
          
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          Nauni
          104. It is reported that the authorities are refusing to allow the registration of the Seventh-day
          Adventist Church. Owing to this lack of recognition, the said community is unable to purchase
          land and cannot hold public meetings or conduct baptisms, weddings or funerals. The
          Seventh-day Adventist Church is therefore obliged to conduct its religious activities in private
          homes.
          Nepal
          105. The Seventh-day Adventist church, which maintains several churches, a school and a
          hospital in Nepal, may conduct most religious activities with the exception of conversions, which
          are banned; the Church's right to own property is not officially recognized.
          106. A young Tibetan monk, Kunchog (I}yatso, was reportedly arrested by the police
          on 27 October 2000. Fearing that he would be sent back to Tibet Autonomous Region, he
          attempted to escape and was seriously injured by the police. He subsequently died of his
          injuries. A number of monks are said to have left Tibet Autonomous Region in order to pursue
          their studies and practise their religion abroad.
          Niger
          107. Despite the existence of constitutional safeguards for freedom of religion and belief and
          the general pursuit of a policy of tolerance in relation to this basic right, a number of incidents
          have apparently disturbed the harmonious relationship between the Muslim majority and
          non-Muslim minorities. The latter have reportedly encountered obstacles to their religious
          activities in the towns of Say, Kiota, Agadez and Madarounfa, which are considered to be holy
          places by local Muslim organizations. For example, at Say, Baptist missionaries have been
          harassed by the Muslim authorities in the town since 1998. Because the police are allegedly
          unable to resolve this situation, the Baptist missionaries were forced to leave Say in
          September 1999, to the detriment of the local Christian community. On 14 May 2000 Muslim
          leaders reportedly threatened Christians with the demolition of their meeting place in Say. It
          is further alleged that a Christian from the village of Ouro Sidi was threatened with arrest and
          ill-treatment by Muslims opposed to his activism with the Baptist missionaries.
          Nigeria
          108. It is reported that on 21 February 2000 in Kaduna the Christian community
          demonstrated against the imposition of the shariah in this State. Their peaceful
          demonstration apparently led to clashes between Christians and Muslims. On 22 February
          at least 400 people were killed. On 22 May, in Kaduna, further interfaith clashes are said to
          have broken out in which at least 100 people died. Several churches and mosques were
          reportedly set alight. On 23 May 2000, for the first time in Kaduna State, a priest was killed:
          Father Clement Ozi Bello was apparently executed by Muslim fanatics.
        
          
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          Nonvay
          109. Pursuant to the Religious Knowledge and Education in Ethics Act of October 1995, the
          teaching of Christianity and Christian ethics is reported to be mandatory in primary and
          secondary schools. On special grounds, exemptions from specific religious activities such as
          prayer may be granted, but students may not forgo instruction in the subject as a whole. It is
          reported that representatives of the Muslim Council and the Humanist Association contested this
          law in the courts; their challenge was dismissed at first instance and is now at the appeal stage.
          Uganda
          110. On 17 March 2000, the bodies of at least 500 members of the Movement for the
          Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God are said to have been discovered by the police in
          a church near Kanunga. The evidence points to a collective suicide. On 27 March 2000, in
          Rugazi, the police reportedly discovered the bodies of another 70 members of this movement in
          a garden belonging to an official of this organization. On 2 April 2000, in Kanunga,
          Vice-President Specioza Kazibwe announced that at least 1,000 members of the Movement for
          the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God had died, while its leaders were apparently
          still alive.
          Uzbekistan
          111. It is reported that the authorities have not granted the necessary permission to the
          Evangelical Baptist Church to hold its summer camp, whereas other, non-Baptist camps have
          been authorized. Evangelical Baptist representatives have interpreted this measure as official
          opposition to the presence of an active Baptist community in the country. The authorities have
          apparently refused to register a Baptist church in the town of Gazalkent for the reason that
          members of the congregation were undesirables and should join the Russian Orthodox Church.
          112. On 1 and 6 May 2000 the authorities reportedly arrested eight individuals for their
          alleged links with the religious party Hiz-ut-Tahir. In July 2000, Kamoletdin Sattarov was said
          to have been sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for possession of five religious leaflets.
          Pakistan
          113. On 26 April 2000, in Khanewal, in the central Punjab Province, Farrukh Barjees Tahir, a
          lawyer and district Vice-Chairman of the Pakistani Shiite Muslim Party, and his clerk were
          reportedly assassinated by two unidentified individuals. This attack apparently occurred three
          years after the assassination in Khanewal of the lawyer's father, at the time Vice-Chairman of
          the aforementioned party. In 1997, two members of a Sunni extremist group were arrested and
          prosecuted in connection with this case.
          114. It is reported that on 17 March 2000 in Saeedabad, a suburb of Faisalabad, at least 200
          Muslim extremists attacked a Christian community as a punishment against Ashiq Masih, who
          had apparently decided to return to the Christian faith after his conversion to Islam. The police
          were alerted and intervened, but arrested Ashiq Masih on the orders of the Deputy Commissioner
          of Faisalabad. It is claimed that the latter was acting on a complaint by a Muslim extremist.
        
          
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          The accused was reportedly detained in the Faisalabad district prison, although no appropriate
          investigation was conducted. It is said that the family of Ashiq Masih also constantly receives
          death threats.
          115. In July 2000, in the village of Bandai in Dir district, North-West Frontier Province, a
          religious leader, Maulana Ziaul Haq, reportedly issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to kill
          Westerners in the Maidan region and to kidnap and force female employees of non-governmental
          organizations (NGO5) to get married. This fatwa strengthened a ban imposed by the district
          authorities at the behest of local mullahs, which was designed to prevent NGO personnel from
          entering the region. The extremist organization Tebrik-I-Nifaz-Shariat-Muhmmadi is apparently
          behind these events; it is organizing a campaign against NGOs, which it accuses of spreading
          anti-Islamic Western philosophies such as protection of women's rights.
          116. On 5 August 2000, Mohammed YusufAli, a Sufi mystic accused of blasphemy, was
          reportedly condemned to death in Lahore. It appears that this decision was reached despite
          the fact that the persons who had accused Mohammed Yusuf Ali of proclaiming himself a
          prophet failed to back up their allegations with any hard evidence. The accused is said to have
          denied the allegations, and certain witnesses admit that they had not fully understood his
          claims. The accuser is apparently the secretary-general of an extremist organization,
          Majlis-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (Organization of the Finality of the Prophet), known for its
          anti-Ahmadiyah campaigns.
          117. On 4 October 2000, Dr. Younus Sheikh, a doctor and professor at the Islamabad College
          of Medicine, was reportedly arrested by the police on a charge of blasphemy. It was alleged that
          on 2 October 2000, during a class in the presence of students, he had stated that the prophet was
          not Muslim before his fortieth birthday, and that the prophet's parents were not Muslims
          because their deaths pre-dated the prophet's announcement of his mission. The accuser is
          Maulana Abdur Rauf, head of the Rawlpindi branch of Majlis-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwwat. None
          of the members of this extremist organization had actually attended Dr. Younus Sheikh's class.
          On 19 October, Younus Sheikh was brought before a court and remanded in custody. During
          this hearing, he was reportedly attacked by 20 mullahs from the Rawlpindi branch of the
          aforementioned organization. He is currently being detained on remand in Adiala prison.
          118. On 30 October 2000, five ahmadiyah, including a child, were reportedly killed by
          unidentified armed men while they were leaving a mosque after morning prayers in the village of
          Ghatialian near Sialkot in Punjab Province. Ten Ahmadis were also injured in this attack. No
          one has been arrested in connection with these events.
          Papua New Guinea
          119. In 2000, the Minister for Home Affairs reportedly stated his opposition to the arrival of
          Muslims in the country, and his Department has set about drafting legislation to control
          non-Christian religions. As a first step, and pursuant to a request from the Department, an
          ecclesiastical coalition is said to have prepared a document entitled “The Inclusion of Islam into
          Papua New Guinea: A Warning”, which alleges that Islam is a bellicose and violent religion
          which oppresses women and minorities. It further claims that Islam is a threat to the peace and
          unity of Papua New Guinea, which should remain a Christian country.
        
          
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          Philippines
          120. Since March 2000, on the island of Mindanao, Muslim extremists have reportedly been
          creating a climate of intolerance against the Catholic community. The extremist group
          Al Harukatul is alleged to have taken pupils and teachers from the Tumahugong Catholic School
          hostage. Furthermore, in the town of Job, there are said to be posters calling on Christians to
          convert to Islam.
          121. On 17 July 2000, at Sumugod in Bumbaran municipality (Lanao del Sur Province,
          Mindanao), an extremist group called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front reportedly killed
          21 Christians.
          Republic of Korea
          122. Because no alternatives to military service are recognized, it is reported that
          Jehovah's Witnesses who object to performing military service on the grounds of conscience are
          liable to three years' imprisonment.
          Lao People's Democratic Republic
          123. In October 2000 the Government reportedly launched a campaign to eradicate Christian
          churches and thereby curtail their role and influence in society. This campaign, styled a
          “programme”, seeks to monitor Christian organizations and accuses them of representing an
          alien religion controlled by enemy forces. The programme has already been partially
          implemented with security forces apparently forcing newly converted Christians to sign
          declarations renouncing the Christian faith.
          United Kingdom
          124. The Islamic Human Rights Commission is reported to have undertaken a survey in 1999
          and 2000 on anti-Muslim discrimination and hostility in the United Kingdom. This study
          records cases and instances of discrimination against Muslim students in the field of education
          (for example, exclusion or discrimination associated with the performance of religious practices
          in schools and the absence of clear directives and procedures from the Department of Education
          and the Department of Employment concerning relevant complaints), and in the field of
          employment (for example, job applications turned down because an individual wears “religious”
          clothing, or the prohibition of displays of religious identity in the workplace). Some media
          outlets also paint a hostile picture of Muslims.
          Sudan
          125. On 21 June 2000, at Khartoum, the police allegedly attacked the
          Comboni Catholic College and proceeded to destroy and commandeer property.
        
          
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          Sri Lanka
          126. On 17 May 2000, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are alleged to have organized a
          bomb attack against a Buddhist temple in Batticaloa, in which 22 civilians were killed.
          127. Sri Lanka replied:
          “A powerful bomb was set off by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at
          around 5.30 p.m. on Vesak day (15 May), the holiest day of the Buddhist calendar,
          killing 16 civilians, mostly of the Tamil community, and six security force personnel.
          The blast also injured more than 75 civilians. The bomb went off in the eastern town of
          Batticaloa, near the Mangalarama Buddhist temple, where a Vesak celebration was being
          attended by a large number of civilians from both the Sinhala and Tamil communities.
          The day also marked the first time Vesak Poya was declared an international holiday by
          the United Nations.
          The president of Sri Lanka strongly condemned this barbaric act by the ruthless
          terrorist group LTTE, which is fighting against a democratically elected Government in
          order to carve out a mono-ethnic State in Sri Lanka. The President also reinstated civil
          defence committees already set up in different parts of the country in order to protect
          civilians and prevent violence. The blast in the eastern town of Batticaloa, where the
          main Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities have been living harmoniously, seemed an
          attempt by the LTTE to trigger an ethnic backlash and bolster their claim for a separate
          State.
          The LTTE attacks on innocent civilians and Buddhist temples and Muslim
          mosques began many years ago. The attack on the Temple of the Sacred Bo Tree at
          Anardhapura on 14 May 1985 killing 120 civilians including a Buddhist monk, the
          killing of 30 Buddhist monks and four civilians at Arantalawa on 2 June 1987, the
          assassination of the chief priest of Dimbulagala Temple on 26 May 1995 and the attach
          on the killing of 103 Muslims at prayer at the Jumma and Hussainia mosques in
          Kattankudy, Batticaloa, on 3 August 1990 are a few examples of LTTE brutality. Like
          the Vatican for the Christians and Mecca for the Muslims, Buddhists hold sacred the
          Temple of the Tooth Relic at Kandy. LTTE bombed this Buddhist shrine and UNESCO-
          designated World Heritage Site on 25 January 1998.
          The aim of the LTTE in these cases seemed to be to stall the effort by the
          Government and democratic parties in Sri Lanka towards a political solution to the ethnic
          issue by aggravating the ethnic disharmony through provoking different religious
          communities (Buddhists and Muslims) in Sri Lanka. There is no doubt that Buddhists,
          Hindus and Muslims have been deeply shocked by this brutal attack, but religious society
          acted with commendable restraint.”
          128. Sri Lanka has provided a second reply recapitulating the provisions in its Constitution for
          safeguarding and protecting freedom of religion and its manifestations, and in particular the
          principle of non-discrimination in this sphere. An investigation carried out by the
          Ministry of Defence has confirmed that LTTE was responsible for the destruction of the temple
        
          
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          at Batticaloa and for a number of similar acts in the past (for example, the Buddhist shrine at
          Kandy in 1998). The Ministry of Defence has instructed the police and the armed forces to take
          appropriate measures to protect places of worship and pilgrimage.
          129. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Sri Lankan Government for the detailed replies it has
          provided on one specific case in the wider context of the armed conflict, and endorses the
          measures taken by the State to ensure the protection of places of worship, in accordance with its
          responsibilities in the matter.
          Chad
          130. On 25 May 2000 the Sultan of Kanem reportedly ordered the arrest of members of the
          Faydal Djaria Muslim community, originally from Nigeria and Senegal. The arrests followed a
          request to this effect from the Chadian Higher Council of Islamic Affairs, which justified its
          initiative by this community's alleged failure to conform to the principles of Islam. Specifically,
          it cited the practice of mixed-sex singing and dancing during religious ceremonies.
          Pressure from the Chadian Higher Council of Islamic Affairs has also resulted in the banning of
          the Faydal Djaria community by the Ministry of the Interior.
          131. Aggressive proselytizing by evangelist missionaries is apparently at the root of tensions
          between the Muslim community and Christian minorities.
          Turkmeuistan
          132. On 21 June 1999, in Gyzylarbat, members of the National Security Committee are
          reported to have arrested Annamammedov Yazmammed, A Jehovah's Witness, in order to take
          him to the office of the director of this congregation. Allegedly threatened with physical
          violence with the intention of forcing him to renounce his faith and to reveal the names of the
          Jehovah's Witnesses in Gyzylarbat, he was eventually beaten because of his refusal to comply.
          On 22 June 1999, he was reportedly sentenced by the Gyzylarbat court to 12 days'
          administrative detention for insulting the members of the National Security Committee.
          On 23 July 1999, Annamammedov Yazmammed is said to have been sentence to 10 days'
          administrative detention, again because of his refusal to yield to the pressure of the
          National Security Committee. This scenario was apparently repeated on 7 October 1999. On
          19 October 1999, the wife of Annamammedov Yazmammed was allegedly arrested by the
          National Security Committee in order to force her to sign a declaration of renunciation of the
          Jehovah's Witness faith.
          133. On 14 November 1999, in Ashgabat, the authorities are reported to have ordered the
          demolition of the only Seventh-day Adventist church in Turkmenistan. It appears that this
          congregation was registered in 1992 and obtained permission to build its church from the
          President of Turkmenistan. However, following the revision of the Religion Act in 1997
          (making registration of a congregation conditional on the number of its members, the
          requirement being 500), this community was apparently stripped of its official status.
          Despite several attempts, the Adventists were reportedly unable to obtain the re-registration of
          their community.
        
          
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          134. It is alleged that on 14 November 1999 the National Security Committee ordered a raid
          on the Baptist congregation of the Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches during the Sunday
          sermon. On 13 February 2000, the Committee reportedly interrupted a private religious meeting
          organized by the Baptist pastor Vitaly Tereshnev, on the grounds that the meeting was illegal.
          The pastor was apparently fined and his passport confiscated. On 2 February 2000, the Baptist
          pastor Anatoly Belyayev is said to have been arrested by members of the
          National Security Committee while he was peacefully performing his religious activities.
          On 11 March 2000, this pastor and his family were reportedly deported to Moscow.
          On 13 March 2000, the Senkin and Shulgin families, active members of the Baptist congregation
          of the Town of Mary, are also alleged to have been deported.
          135. In March 2000, the Protestant pastor Shokhrat Piriyev was reportedly forced to leave
          Ashgabat on the pretext that his residence permit was not valid.
          136. In addition, it is reported that no civilian alternative to military service is provided for
          conscientious objectors, who are liable to imprisonment under the Penal Code.
          137. Vitaly Tereshin, a Baptist missionary, was reportedly arrested and deported in
          August 2000.
          138. The Russian Orthodox Church and Sunni communities enjoy legal recognition, whereas
          the authorities have apparently refused to register other communities, especially religious
          minorities. The law stipulates a membership threshold of 500 persons as a criterion for
          registration. However, the authorities reportedly make it difficult for communities which satisfy
          this criterion to register, in some cases coercing people to retract their declaration of
          membership. In other cases, the authorities apparently interpret this criterion to mean
          500 members locally rather than nationwide.
          Turkey
          139. On 1 March 2000, two Christians (converted Muslims), Necati Aydin and Ercan Sengul,
          members of the Ismir Fellowship of Jesus Christ, are said to have been arrested as they sold and
          distributed Bibles and other Christian literature in Kemalpasa, near Izmir. The prosecutor
          reportedly accused them of forcing people to accept the Bibles and of insulting Islam. It seems
          the local mufti submitted a report to the prosecutor explaining that the material confiscated from
          the two Christians did not contain any anti-Islamic elements. However, it was apparently
          emphasized that passages in Aydin's personal notebook concerning the meaning of “Allah” and
          “Jehovah” and other names for God were the essence of falsehood and slander against religion.
          These arrests reportedly occurred one day after the broadcast on channel D, on Ugur Dundar's
          “Arena” show, of a television programme on Christian missionary sects, which appears to have
          propagated the message that Christianity is a threat.
          140. Turkey replied that, according to the information transmitted by the Ministry of Justice,
          Mr. Aydin and Mr. Sengul had been acquitted on 11 May 2000 by the Kemalpasa criminal court.
          141. While noting the acquittal of the two accused, the Special Rapporteur requests the
          Turkish Government to inform him of planned measures to ensure that certain media outlets
        
          
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          refrain from any further programming or coverage that encourage intolerance and discrimination
          on the grounds of religion or belief while at the same time safeguarding press freedom.
          142. A further communication alleges that in February 2000 law-enforcement officers in
          Konya discovered the bodies of two women at a site used by Hezbollah. One of the victims, the
          writer Konda Kuris, had apparently been kidnapped on 16 July 1998 in Mersin and had been
          murdered for her criticism of Muslim extremist circles.
          143. In its reply, Turkey confirmed the aforementioned allegations and explained that the
          security forces had arrested the members of the illegal organization Hezbollah responsible for
          murdering Ms. Kuris. Court proceedings were currently under way, but certain persons
          implicated in the murder were still at large. A nationwide police operation was in progress with
          a view to apprehending the suspects.
          144. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Turkish authorities for their detailed reply and for any
          future information on measures taken or planned to deal with religious extremism.
          Ukraine
          145. The duration of alternative civilian service is twice as long as military service and thus
          has a punitive character. Moreover, conscientious objectors who belong to religious
          communities that are not officially registered by the authorities are unable to assert their right to
          perform alternative service.
          Viet Nam
          146. It is reported that Pastor Tran Tran Son has been forbidden to perform religious activities
          in Ho Chi Minh City.
          Yemen
          147. On 16 January 2000, Mohammed Omer Hadji, a Somali refugee resident in Yemen, was
          reportedly arrested and held at Tawahi police station on account of his conversion to
          Christianity. Following his release on 13 March 2000, he was allegedly beaten by the police and
          told that he would be killed unless he returned to the Muslim faith. He was reportedly rearrested
          two months later and condemned to death by a court for apostasy, although the court stated that
          the death sentence would not be carried out if he reconverted to Islam.
          148. Yemen replied:
          concerning the case of the Somali refugee Mohamed Omar Haji who
          apostatized from Islam, we wish to point out that such conduct constitutes an offence
          under Yemeni laws and legislation. Accordingly, the said person was arrested and
          referred for trial on the charge of apostasy from Islam to another religion. However, in
          view of his status as a refugee in Yemen, the Yemeni Government decided that it would
          be more appropriate to expel him from the territory of Yemen in collaboration and
        
          
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          coordination with the UNHCR office in Sana'a. This decision was put into effect and
          the said person was expelled to Djibouti on Friday, 25 August, as an alternative to the
          continuation of the trial proceedings.”
          Late replies
          149. Replies from States to communications sent in the context of the report submitted to the
          Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-sixth session (AICN.4/2000/65) are contained in the
          report submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session of the (A155/280, paras. 55-75;
          Azerbaijan, Brunei Darussalam, China, Russian Federation, India, Indonesia, Iran
          (Islamic Republic of), Ukraine and Viet Nam). Following this session, the Special Rapporteur
          received the following replies from China and the Sudan.
          China
          150. Concerning the allegations that Christians have been arrested (see E/CN.4/2000/65,
          para. 27), China replied:
          “Information concerning the illegal gathering in Tanghe County on
          23 August 1999 and the people involved.
          On 23 August 1999, Zhang Rongliang, Feng Jianguo, Wang Xincai and some
          other key members of cult organizations, flaunting the banner of ‘unification of
          churches', called together some people to set up a new cult organization in Tanghe
          county, Henan Province, and disturbed the public order there. The local public security
          department, acting on the local people's reports, banned their illegal activities according
          to law. The information concerning the individuals mentioned in the letter is as follows:
          Zhang Rongliang, male, age 47, is from Fangcheng County, Henan Province.
          Zhang joined the cult organization Full-scope Church in 1984. In February 1994 he
          established an illegal organization, with which he fabricated rumours to mislead people
          and seriously disturbed the public order by being vigorously engaged in ‘treatment of
          diseases through banishment of evil spirits'.
          Feng Jianguo, male, age 73, is from Tanghe County, Henan Province. A former
          key member of the cult organization Full-scope Church, he was sentenced to four years'
          imprisonment in 1956 for the crime of rape. lii 1994, Feng established the Gospel Group
          of China. He told his followers to heighten their vigilance and be prepared for war and
          donate whatever they have. He fabricated rumours to mislead people and seriously
          disturbed the public order by being vigorously engaged in ‘treatment of diseases through
          banishment of evil spirits'.
          In view of the fact that Zhang and Feng were engaged in cult organization
          activities for many years, persisted in such acts in Tanghe even after the government ban
          and disturbed the public order, the local public security department, in accordance with
          the relevant provisions of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China as well as
          the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, subjected Zhang and
        
          
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          Feng to house arrest on 24 September 1999. On 19 November, the local labour education
          and rehabilitation committee decided to punish Zhang and Feng with three years and one
          year of education through labour respectively.
          Wang Xincai, male, age 47, is from Lushan County, Henan Province. In 1980, he
          joined the cult organization shouting faction and became a key member. He was
          subjected to 15 days' security detention by the local public security department according
          to law for his participation in the planning of the illegal activities in Tanghe County on
          23 August 1999 which disturbed the local public order. He has been released.
          As to Gao Guofu, Gang Jinliang and some others mentioned in the [ Special
          Rapporteur'sI letter who took part in the illegal gathering, the local public security
          department did not subject them to arrest, detention or any other punishment.
          Although serious efforts have been made to locate their whereabouts, no trace has
          been found of the following seven persons mentioned in the letter: Zhao Chunshun,
          Sun Zheguo, Jian Wenxiang, Liu Wanlin, Zhan He, Chen Yaofu and Xu Changhua.
          Comments
          Religious belief is a basic right of Chinese citizens. Article 36 of the Constitution
          of the People's Republic of China provides: ‘Citizens of the People's Republic of China
          enjoy freedom of religious belief No State organ, public organization or individual may
          compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate
          against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.' There are clear and
          specific provisions concerning protection of freedom of religious belief and of equal
          rights of the citizens who believe in religions in China's criminal law, civil law, electoral
          law, military service law and compulsory education law. The Chinese Government
          respects and protects citizens' freedom and rights of religious belief The State protects
          normal religious activities. The normal religious activities conducted in public and those
          conducted at home according to religious customs are organized by religious
          organizations and believers themselves. Such activities are protected by State laws and
          no one may intervene. The State protects the lawful rights and interests of religious
          organizations and the rights of professional religious personnel to perform their normal
          religious duties.
          Christians and Catholics in China have their own religious organizations. The
          Chinese Government confers on all churches and meeting places which meet
          requirements the right to register themselves according to law. Once registered, such
          places are protected by law. The Government authorizes the temporary registration of
          meeting places which do not satisfy all requirements, and registration becomes official
          once all the requirements have been met. Consequently there are no ‘clandestine
          churches' in China. However, it is undeniable that there are certain organizations and
          individuals in the world which are quick to spread rumours and make capital out of
          alleged ill-treatment and persecutions of ‘clandestine churches'. Their real motives are
        
          
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          political and anti-Chinese. The Chinese Government firmly opposes all attacks in the
          form of rumour-mongering and the use of religion to undermine the sovereignty of other
          States.
          Chinese citizens enjoy religious freedom and related rights under the Constitution
          and Chinese law, but these instruments also impose duties on them. The Constitution of
          the People's Republic of China clearly stipulates that no one may use religion for
          purposes designed to disturb public order, endanger public health or disrupt the smooth
          functioning of the State educational system. Zhang Rongliang, Feng Jianguo and the
          other persons involved were punished according to law, not because of their faith but
          because they were performing illegal activities which constituted a serious threat to
          public order and undermined the laws and regulations of the State.”
          Sudan
          151. With reference to the case of the Catholic priests Father Lino Sabbat and H. Boma, who
          were arrested in August 1998 and accused of being linked to explosions in Khartoum in
          June 1998 (see E/CN.4/2000/1999/58, para. 96, and E/CN.4/2000/65, para. 94), the Sudan
          replied:
          “The above-mentioned persons have been arrested and charged with the bombing
          in Khartoum of 30 June 1998. The accused were presented to a trial before a field
          military court which was later cancelled by the Constitutional Court. His Excellency the
          President pardoned all the accused in the case on 6 December 1999. Upon the
          declaration, His Excellency the Minister of Justice ordered the immediate release of all
          the accused and the stay of all legal proceedings against them.”
          152. Regarding the deportation by the immigration services of a Canadian Catholic priest
          without explanation in August 1999 (see E/CN.4/2000/65, para. 94), the Sudan replied:
          “Brother Gilles Poirier was deported because he entered the country illegally and
          engaged in activities which compromised national security while he was in the Sudan.”
          153. The Special Rapporteur requests the Sudanese Government to provide more detailed
          information concerning the charge of “compromising national security”.
          154. The Special Rapporteur has also received the Sudan's reply to an urgent appeal made in
          1999 in connection with the arrest and disappearance of Nasser Hussein (or Nasir Hassan)
          following his conversion to Christianity (see E/CN.4/1999/58, para. 96). The Sudan replied:
          “... During a meeting with the rapporteur of the Human Rights Advisory Council which
          took place on 6 February 1999 in the presence of Brother Yohannes Garangtab, a
          member of the Council, Nasser Hussein stated that he had been arrested on several
          occasions for disrespect towards Islam, but that since his release late in November 1998
          he had not been rearrested and had led a normal life. He may be contacted through the
          Human Rights Advisory Council . .
        
          
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          155. The Special Rapporteur has still not received any replies to communications or various
          communications addressed to the following 34 States in the context of his report to the
          Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-sixth session (E/CN.4/2000/65): Afghanistan,
          Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea,
          Dominican Republic, Gabon, Greece, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Kazakhstan,
          Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique,
          Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan,
          Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
          II. IN SITU VISITS AND FOLLOW-UP PROCEDURE
          156. In situ visits remain one of the main ways to facilitate dialogue and gain deeper
          understanding of situations regarding tolerance and non-discrimination on the grounds of
          religion or belief
          A. Visit to Turkey
          157. The Special Rapporteur visited Turkey in 1999. His report on this visit, which took place
          in December 1999, was submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session
          (A/55/280/Add. 1) and transmitted for information to the Commission on Human Rights at its
          fifty-sixth session. It deals with law and policy in the field of freedom of religion and belief and
          on the situation of non-Muslim communities.
          158. Certain pieces of legislation include provisions to protect freedom of religion and belief
          (for example, in general terms, the Turkish Constitution), whereas others (for example,
          legislation on given names, foundations and the “non-utilization” of the property of non-Muslim
          minorities) raise serious issues of compatibility with international law and jurisprudence in the
          field of human rights. There are also problems posed by the failure to recognize conscientious
          objection or to abide by provisions designed to protect the legitimate rights of minorities in the
          field of freedom of religion, for example the existence of domestic laws, regulations,
          jurisprudence and practices contrary to the Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923.
          159. The policy of the Turkish State, it must be said, is complex and contrasts sharply with the
          categorical assertion by certain authorities that such policy is a model of tolerance and
          non-discrimination. The Special Rapporteur understands the legitimate concerns of the
          authorities in the face of religious extremism, but he believes that the active role of the State in
          religious affairs, for example through its Turkization policies, constitutes interference not only in
          the way people manifest their belief but also in the actual freedom of religion and belief of both
          the Muslim majority and the non-Muslim communities.
          160. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, with the exception of the Jewish minority, whose
          situation is entirely satisfactory, the situation of the Christian communities - Greek Orthodox,
          Armenian (Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant), Assyro-Chaldean and Turkish Catholic and
          Protestant - raises problems with regard to the principles of tolerance and non-discrimination.
          These communities have to endure many hardships and violations, including the confiscation of
        
          
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          religious property, the banning of religious seminaries, interference at various times in
          procedures for electing religious dignitaries, restrictions on freedom of worship in public and, at
          times, even a climate of insecurity that affects Christians.
          161. It is true that the rich diversity of religious life is gradually being eroded in Turkey. In a
          spirit of dialogue and cooperation, the Special Rapporteur has prepared a series of
          recommendations for the Turkish Government with respect to legislation and policy in the field
          of freedom of religion and belief and the situation of non-Muslim communities.
          B. Visit to Bangladesh
          162. The Special Rapporteur's visit to Bangladesh in May 2000 was the subject of a report
          submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session (A155/280/Add.2) which was also
          transmitted for information to the Commission on Human Rights.
          163. A study of legislation in Bangladesh revealed that constitutional and penal measures
          guarantee freedom of religion and belief and their manifestations, but that, despite positive
          initiatives by the Government to enhance the protection of women, existing legislation on the
          status and capacity of persons discriminates against women, as does the Vested Property Act,
          which is simply a tool for robbing the Hindu community of its property.
          164. With regard to policy and the sphere of religion and belief, the State does, in general,
          respect freedom of religion and belief and manifestations thereof However, the situation of
          religious and ethnic communities is not without its problems, some of which are very serious.
          One problem that needs to be stressed is the complexity of the various situations. The obstacles,
          intolerance and discrimination that can affect religious and ethnic communities are due to a
          combination of several factors. These are essentially political and religious in nature, but there
          are also economic and social considerations such as poverty, illiteracy and the weight of
          tradition.
          165. This being the case, it seems that the key common denominator with regard to the
          problems described is the exploitation of religion for political ends. The involvement of
          extremist religious parties in Bangladesh politics and the use of Islam as a stepping stone to
          power has led to the adoption of a similar strategy by other political parties. Another
          consequence is that the State appears more sensitive to the interests of the Muslim majority. For
          non-Muslim minorities and ethnic groups, this is reflected in a number of obstacles to access to
          public-sector jobs, especially positions of responsibility, and lukewarm financial support for their
          religious community institutions and the teaching of their religion in public schools. The same
          approach appears to be the reason for the delays in the full implementation of the Peace Accord
          in favour of the ethnic communities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
          166. Moreover, the State is to some extent hamstrung in its efforts to combat religious
          extremism. This prejudices the position of Abmadis, non-Muslims and women who live in a
          climate of insecurity (as reflected in attacks on minorities and fatwas against women) whipped
          up by extremists who seek to control society through mosques, madrasahs and charitable
          organizations. These extremists also challenge any progressive and enlightened development of
          society, for example the emancipation of marginalized groups such as women, which is
        
          
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          promoted by the Government through various legislative initiatives and action programmes.
          Recommendations on all the problems and issues described above have been submitted to the
          authorities in Bangladesh in a spirit of cooperation and appreciation of the many difficulties
          associated with underdevelopment affecting the country. Clearly, the complex situation facing
          Bangladesh means that the country's efforts to curb extremism and fight poverty should be
          encouraged and supported.
          167. The Special Rapporteur intends to visit Argentina in the near future.
          168. In addition, pursuant to its resolution S- S/i of 19 October 2000, entitled “Grave and
          massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel”, the Commission on
          Human Rights decided at its fifth special session to request the Special Rapporteur on religious
          intolerance to carry out an immediate mission to the occupied Palestinian territories and to report
          his findings to the Commission at its fifty-seventh session. Pursuant to this resolution, the
          Special Rapporteur has made the necessary arrangements for such a visit and will report thereon
          to the Commission on Human Rights. A request for a visit was transmitted to the Israeli
          Government on 27 July 1996, but to date no reply has been forthcoming, despite reminders.
          169. To date, requests for visits to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Russian
          Federation, Indonesia and Nigeria have come to nothing.
          170. The Special Rapporteur has followed up on his in situ visits through the procedure for
          collating observations and information received from States on measures either planned or taken
          to implement the recommendations made in the visit reports. Most of the States visited have
          cooperated with the follow-up programme: China (follow-up table and reply in 1996
          (A/S 1/542)); Pakistan (follow-up table in 1996 (A151/542), reply in 1996 (A152/477/Add.1));
          Greece (follow-up table in 1997 (A152/477/Add. 1), reply in 1997 (E/CN.4/1998/6)); the Sudan
          (follow-up table in 1997 (A152/477/Add. 1), reply in 1997 (A152/477/Add. 1)); and India
          (follow-up table in 1997 (A152/477/Add. 1) reply in 1998 (A153/279)). The Special Rapporteur is
          still awaiting replies from the Islamic Republic of Iran (follow-up table in 1996 (A15 1/542)),
          Germany (follow-up table in 1998 (E/CN.4/1999/58)), and Australia (follow-up table in 1998
          (E/CN.4/1999/58)). Germany has advised the Special Rapporteur that a detailed reply will be
          sent in the very near future. On 17 February 2000, the Special Rapporteur initiated a follow-up
          procedure in respect of the United States of America and Viet Nam (follow-up table (A155/280)).
          171. The Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize the importance of follow-up, which is the
          logical next step after a visit and ought to generate constructive dialogue and a joint search for
          solutions to any problem in the field of freedom of religion and belief This procedure is a key
          instrument of cooperation, both for the States involved and for the United Nations human rights
          machinery as a whole. For example, in its concluding observations on the Islamic Republic of
          Iran of 2 June 2000 (CRC/C/ 15/Add. 123), the Committee on the Rights of the Child endorsed
          the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance following his visit
          to that country and recommended that the State party should implement them in their entirety
          (para. 36).
        
          
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          172. In addition to his “traditional” visits, the Special Rapporteur will in future visit the major
          religious communities (following the pattern of his visit to the Holy See in September 1999; see
          E/CN.4/2000/65) in order to establish a direct dialogue focusing on the 1981 Declaration and any
          issues relating to freedom of religion and belief
          III. INTERNATIONAL CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE ON SCHOOL
          EDUCATION IN RELATION TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF,
          TOLERANCE AND NON-DISCRIMINATION
          173. The Special Rapporteur has continued his preparations for the international consultative
          conference on school education in relation to freedom of religion and belief, tolerance and
          non-discrimination, which is to be held in Madrid from 23 to 25 November 2001 in collaboration
          with the Spanish Government. At its fifty-fifth session, the General Assembly noted this
          initiative with satisfaction in its resolution 55 /97 (for further details, see A/55/280,
          paras. 121-132).
          174. The Preparatory Committee for the Conference has been established. Besides the
          Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance and the representative of Spain, it is composed of the
          following individuals (listed in alphabetical order) who are attending in their capacity as experts
          rather than as representatives of a particular State (except Spain), religion or NGO:
          Mr. Taieb Baccouche, Tunisia, expert on the right to education, Director of the Arab
          Institute of Human Rights;
          Mr. Doudou Diène, Senegal, Director of the Division of intercultural dialogue and
          pluralism for a culture of peace of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
          Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
          Mr. Maurice Glèlè Ahanhanzo, Benin, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations
          Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination,
          xenophobia and related intolerance;
          Mr. Ivan C. Iban, Spain, Professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and
          Secretary of the European Consortium for Church and State Research;
          Mr. Michael Roan, United States of America, Director of the Tandem Project and expert
          in the field of freedom of religion and conviction;
          Ms. Katarina Toma evski, Croatia, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations
          Commission on Human Rights on education;
          Mr. Theo Van Boven, Netherlands, former Director of the United Nations Centre for
          Human Rights and former member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
          Discrimination.
        
          
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          175. The Preparatory Committee held its first meeting from 20 to 22 November 2000 at the
          Palais Wilson in Geneva. The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, representing the
          High Commissioner, attended the opening meeting. The Committee worked on the basis of a
          dossier prepared by the Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance containing the following
          documents: composition of the preparatory committee; the agenda; a project brief; a trilingual
          brochure on the conference; draft rules of procedure; draft final document; a study prepared
          by the Special Rapporteur for the World Conference against Racism entitled “Racial
          discrimination, religious intolerance and education”; and a study carried out under the
          Special Rapporteur's guidance entitled “The role of religious education in the pursuit of
          tolerance and non-discrimination”.
          176. The Preparatory Committee adopted the draft rules of procedure and the first version of
          the draft final document after two readings. The Committee also held a preliminary discussion
          on the list of conference participants and decided to invite as observers all States Members of
          the United Nations, relevant United Nations bodies (the Secretariat, specialized agencies,
          UNESCO Chairs in the field of human rights and interfaith dialogue, treaty and non-treaty
          human rights bodies), regional organizations of a general nature, regional organizations with
          an educational and cultural focus, national and regional human rights institutions and national
          human rights commissions. The Committee also decided to consider the participation of experts,
          religious and faith-based communities and NGOs at its second session, which will be held
          from 11 to 13 June 2001 in Spain.
          177. At the conclusion of the Preparatory Committee's work on 23 November 2000, the
          Special Rapporteur and the Spanish Ambassador held a press conference to report on the
          progress of the preparations. In order to ensure publicity for the conference, steps have been
          taken to post useful information on the Web site of the Office of the High Commissioner for
          Human Rights.
          178. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank the High Commissioner for Human Rights for
          her active cooperation with respect to this conference. She has redoubled her efforts to raise the
          profile of the conference with her interlocutors, particularly during her field visits.
          179. Information and leaflets are available from the conference secretariat:
          Tel.: (004122) 917 9332, 917 9101, 917 9163;
          Fax: (004122) 917 9006;
          e-mail: pgillibert.hchr unog. ch, gpassarelli.hchr unog.ch, or eippoliti.hchr unog. ch
          IV. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
          180. Based on the communications he has received, the Special Rapporteur has been able to
          undertake a general survey of the situation in the field of religion and belief in accordance with
          and under the terms of his mandate.
          181. First and foremost, such an analysis clearly highlights the situation of minorities in terms
          of the principles of tolerance and non-discrimination in the field of religion and belief The
          concept of a minority, although not really defined in international law, which merely refers to
          categories such as national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (see the Declaration on the
        
          
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          Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities), is
          interpreted in the widest sense in this report, whether in reference to minority groups within the
          same religion or in relation to other religions, society, non-State entities and the State. More
          attention should be paid to the situation of minorities in the light of the 1981 Declaration.
          182. First of all, the issue is one of discriminatory or intolerant policies, legislation or State
          practice, or even indifference on the part of State institutions which is prejudicial to minorities,
          be they of the “major religions” or other religious and faith-based communities. Such minorities
          are mainly affected by:
          (a) Threats to their very existence as a specific community (campaigns to eradicate
          Christian minorities in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Jehovah's Witnesses and Baptists
          in Turkmenistan and members of Falun Gong in China; anti-Muslim policies in Myanmar; the
          banning of the Faydal Djaria Muslim community in Chad; Egyptian jurisprudence and practice;
          and the situation of Baha'is in the Islamic Republic of Iran);
          (b) Direct or indirect restrictions on displays of religion or belief (prohibition in fact
          or in law of certain public displays of minority religion or belief in the Maldives, Saudi Arabia,
          Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal; refusal to register religious and faith-based communities, thereby
          threatening all or some activities connected with religion and belief in Kazakhstan, Nauru,
          Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan; non-recognition of conscientious objection, no provision for
          alternative civilian service, and the punitive nature of this civilian service by reason of its
          duration, which particularly affects the Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious and faith-based
          communities in Belarus, the Republic of Korea, Eritrea, the former Yugoslav Republic of
          Macedonia and Ukraine; the absence or inadequacy of instruction in minority religions in
          educational establishments in Greece and Norway);
          (c) Manifestations of rejection such as fear of Islam, as in Papua New Guinea.
          183. Minorities are also victims of the intolerance of non-State entities, especially religious
          communities, political and religious extremist organizations and the media. Minority
          communities are vulnerable in relation to other religions or beliefs (for example, the campaign of
          harassment organized by Muslim leaders against Baptist missionaries and believers at Say in the
          Niger; the excesses perpetrated by Muslim extremists against Christian communities in
          Pakistan; the anti-Muslim remarks by a high-ranking Catholic ecclesiastic and the participation
          of a priest in a demonstration against the construction of a mosque in Italy; and the situation in
          Papua New Guinea), or within the same religion or belief (for example, violent attacks by
          Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria on another organization belonging to a different rite; violence
          perpetrated by small groups such as the “Almighty Cossack Army of the Don” and the Bassilists
          against the Jehovah's Witnesses in Georgia and the Russian Federation). The dividing line
          between religious and faith-based communities and political-extremist organizations is vague
          and sometimes non-existent. In any event, extremism such as that practised by the Taliban in
          Afghanistan has more serious implications for minorities. Lastly, the Special Rapporteur wishes
          to emphasize the particularly damaging role played by certain media outlets in helping to foment
          fear of Islam and Christianity, which creates insecurity and intolerance of Muslim minorities
          (as in South Africa and the United Kingdom) and Christian minorities (as in Turkey) in societies
          throughout the world.
        
          
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          184. When considering this overview of the situation of minorities, it should also be borne in
          mind that minorities themselves may occasionally be sources of intolerance towards their own
          members (for example, the collective suicide organized by the Movement for the Restoration of
          the Ten Commandments of God in Uganda) or towards other religious or faith-based
          communities (in Georgia or Chad, for example, where aggressive proselytism by missionaries is
          undermining the harmony between the Muslim majority and Christian minorities).
          185. It nevertheless remains the case that the worldwide trend as regards religion and belief is
          towards increased intolerance and discrimination against minorities and a failure to take account
          of their specific requirements and needs.
          186. A study of the communications further reveals that the status of women is still highly
          unsatisfactory, sometimes even tragic. The communications reflected in this report refer to
          extreme situations and cases that are usually caused by non-State entities (such as the
          “apartheid” practised against women by the Taliban in Afghanistan on the basis of their own
          interpretation of religion; the abduction and execution of a female intellectual by the Hezbollah
          in Turkey; and the physical violence, including the murder of believers, including nuns,
          perpetrated by extremists in Lebanon, Indonesia, Georgia and India). However, as the
          Special Rapporteur's mission reports indicate in greater depth, women all over the world must
          deal with sex discrimination on a fairly significant level, and such discrimination is caused not
          only by the weight of social tradition but also by State policy (e.g. access to posts of
          responsibility in the political, economic and other spheres).
          187. An appraisal of the communications covered in this report also shows how vulnerable
          minorities and women are to the ever-worsening scourge of extremism. This phenomenon,
          which is complex, having religious, political and ethical roots, and has diverse objectives (purely
          political and/or religious), respects no religion. It has hijacked Islam (as in Afghanistan, Egypt,
          India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Philippines and Turkey), Judaism (in Israel),
          Christianity (in Georgia) and Hinduism (in India). Besides vulnerable groups, the casualties of
          this aberration are entire religious communities, other dynamic forces in society such as NGOs
          (Pakistan), and, of course, religions themselves. Extremist organizations use a variety of means
          to achieve their objective of securing power and/or imposing an exclusive truth, including
          physical violence, such as murder, and legal means, such as recourse to accusations of
          blasphemy. Although legislation that punishes defamation, including blasphemy, is designed to
          protect religion and addresses a legitimate concern, particularly with regard to phenomena such
          as fear of Islam and Christianity, it must be acknowledged that blasphemy or defamation are
          increasingly used by extremists to censure all legitimate critical debate within religions (Jordan,
          Egypt, Pakistan) or to bring to heel certain minorities accused of holding erroneous views
          (Pakistan). Of course, extremism does not and cannot operate in a vacuum, and in fact it
          frequently receives either active or passive support (in the absence of measures to curb it) from
          national and foreign State entities.
          188. Finally, the communications dealt with in this report demonstrate the persistence of
          State policies that have an impact on the freedom of religion and belief of minorities (see above)
          and of the majority (in Myanmar, China and Viet Nam, for example). The difficult and strained
          relationship between politics and religion, illustrated inter alia by extremism, can often have
        
          
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          tragic consequences, such as the inter-faith clashes in Nigeria following the attempted
          introduction of the sharia, or the violence in the wake of the presidential elections in
          Côte d'Ivoire.
          189. Sadly, intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief are ever-present
          in the world. This admission does not of course detract from the positive results of
          the 1981 Declaration, and especially the improvements that a number of countries have made in
          various areas. However, an appraisal of the status of freedom of religion and belief in the world
          today reveals a somewhat negative and disturbing picture.
          190. Accordingly, the Special Rapporteur should continue in his role of investigating breaches
          of the 1981 Declaration, communicating directly with Governments and reporting on this
          situation to the international community. He should also strengthen his role in identifying and
          proposing solutions for dealing with manifestations of intolerance and discrimination and
          addressing the root causes thereof In addition to dealing with the everyday aspects of the
          problem, he should also participate in the elaboration of a long-term prevention strategy. In
          pursuing this preventive approach, the Special Rapporteur has initially had to confront issues that
          are both complex and sensitive in terms of specifics and similarities in order to gain an
          understanding of the whole subject of religious and faith-based intolerance and discrimination.
          191. To this end the Special Rapporteur has initiated a number of studies, namely:
          (a) Two studies in the context of the World Conference against Racism, to which the
          Special Rapporteur was asked to contribute by the Commission on Human Rights pursuant to
          its resolutions 1999/78, on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,
          and 1999/39 and 2000/33, on implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms
          of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief
          (i) An initial study entitled “Racial discrimination and religious
          discrimination: identification and measures” (AICONF. 189/PC. 1/7; see
          summary in A155/280, paras. 111-117). The Special Rapporteur notes that
          if United Nations rules and mechanisms are studied against the
          background of discrimination as it is actually practiced throughout the
          world, the distinctions between racial and religious categories, or even
          between commonly used concepts or terms, are not clear, whether the
          subject is minorities or religion. There are borderline cases where racial
          and religious distinctions are far from clear-cut. Apart from any
          discrimination, the identity of many minorities, or even large groups of
          people, is defined by both racial and religious aspects. Hence, many
          instances of discrimination are aggravated by the effects of multiple
          identities. Moreover, the right to freedom of religion is an essential
          human right, just like the right to belong to an ethnic group or to a
          minority. When both of these rights are infringed in the case of a single
          person or group of persons, the violation is not just a superimposition or
          ordinary addition of offences. The combination of the two offences
          creates a new, more serious offence which, while of varying intensity, is
          by its very nature a separate concept. The Special Rapporteur has noted
        
          
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          that there is a body of sufficiently well-established rules and a set of
          principles shared by all the nations and all the States members of the
          international community, which suggests an openness to theoretical
          acceptance of a right to freedom from aggravated discrimination. At the
          international level, most of these principles are dispersed throughout the
          human rights instruments adopted since the United Nations came into
          being. The universal instruments are generally more advanced than the
          regional texts in this regard. The universal instruments address the issue
          of racial and religious discrimination in depth. Some of them even
          explicitly define the overlap between race and religion, either in the course
          of defining the form of discrimination under consideration, or in
          determining the scope ratione personae of the various instruments. The
          definition of ethnic and religious minorities, in particular the concepts of
          ethnicity and minority, brought out these links. A study of the facts has
          also shown that the overlap between racial and religious discrimination is
          not merely imagined. No region in the world and no religion, whether
          major or minor, traditional or non-traditional, monotheistic or polytheistic,
          is immune to aggravated discrimination. In his recommendations aimed at
          strengthening protection against aggravated discrimination, the Special
          Rapporteur suggested consolidating existing means and mechanisms to
          take account of aggravated discrimination. It is necessary to begin
          working within the framework of existing mechanisms towards, for
          example, the adoption of a resolution dealing specifically with aggravated
          discrimination. Special treatment might also be considered: prioritizing
          the consideration of cases of discrimination by the various human rights
          bodies and organizations, for example, or establishing urgent procedures
          and mechanisms for cutting deadlines for States to reply to complaints or
          allegations of discrimination of this kind. The Special Rapporteur has
          specifically recommended improving legal protection, especially under
          criminal legislation. Each State should provide, if necessary and in
          accordance with its constitutional system, constitutional and judicial
          guarantees to ensure that freedom of religion or belief and membership of
          a minority or an ethnic and religious group are protected in a concrete
          manner by explicit provisions. It would be highly desirable for some
          States to enact general legislation based on international standards. States
          must make efforts to enact legislation or to modify existing legislation, as
          appropriate, in order to prohibit all discrimination based on identification
          of individuals with multiple groups. Most importantly, positive criminal
          legislation should be enacted, not only imposing severe penalties on single
          forms of discrimination, but above all defining a new offence of
          concomitant racial and religious discrimination, which should carry a
          specific penalty, and naturally one that is heavier than that imposed for
          single forms of discrimination. United Nations bodies (General
          Assembly, Commission on Human Rights, etc.) could prepare model
          legislation for the guidance of States in enacting domestic legislation, as
        
          
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          has already been done in the area of racial discrimination. A similar
          initiative in the area of aggravated discrimination is strongly
          recommended;
          (ii) A second study entitled “Racial discrimination, religious intolerance and
          education”, submitted to the second Preparatory Committee of the World
          Conference. In this study, the Special Rapporteur concludes that States
          have a significant responsibility to monitor the whole of their educational
          system, public and private, with a view to detecting racial discrimination
          and manifestations of religious intolerance in fact or in law, in order to
          prohibit and, if necessary, eliminate them. He recommended in particular
          that the development of a segregated education system should be limited
          as far as possible. Whatever the justification for such a system, it cannot
          promote the integration of minorities and immigrant communities.
          However, in certain scenarios, for example when the ethnic configuration
          of a given society dictates or when there is a demand for such a system, a
          segregated education system can protect the rights of ethnic and religious
          minorities. However, in such cases the State's sole obligation is not to
          interfere. It has an essential role to play in monitoring non-discriminatory
          access to the schools that belong to this system. The State also has an
          active duty to recognize the qualifications issued by schools and to make
          available various benefits for allocation on a non-discriminatory basis
          (financial assistance, teacher training, upkeep of buildings, awarding of
          subsidies and study grants). Where the setting of international norms is
          concerned, the Special Rapporteur has maintained that an effort should be
          made to improve the content of existing international instruments by
          adopting texts and documents of an interpretative nature that go beyond
          general objectives and lay down the precise strategy which States and the
          international community should follow to ensure a non-discriminatory and
          tolerant education system. The essential components of such a strategy
          should involve the introduction of school curricula and educational
          materials focusing on the inculcation of religious and racial tolerance in
          the teaching of history and other sensitive subjects. The manner in which
          these subjects are taught determines the way in which pupils perceive
          other cultures and civilizations. This standard-setting effort could be
          formalized and supported through the adoption of targeted resolutions
          dealing specifically with the issue of racial discrimination and religious
          intolerance in education in the context of the World Conference against
          Racism and the international consultative conference on school education
          in relation to freedom of religion and belief, tolerance and
          non-discrimination;
          (b) A study in progress on freedom of religion or belief and the status of women in
          the light of religion and traditions will be presented when the Commission on Human Rights
          meets.
        
          
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          192. These three studies, which have focused attention on minorities and women, will make it
          possible to formulate recommendations with a view to preventing intolerance and discrimination
          on the basis of religion and belief, including intolerance towards vulnerable groups.
          193. The Special Rapporteur will also undertake a study of the question of sects. He
          recommends, in addition, that the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human
          Rights appoint a Special Rapporteur to prepare a study on religious extremism.
          194. The Special Rapporteur is also of the opinion that studies of this nature should be
          supplemented by the following action:
          (a) The holding of a high-level international meeting to address (i) the question of
          sects with a view to identifying a common approach that respects human rights and, in particular,
          freedom of religion and belief; and (ii) the question of religious extremism, in order to define and
          adopt a minimum set of rules and principles of conduct;
          (b) The elaboration and adoption by all relevant United Nations bodies of a plan of
          action to combat discrimination against women on the basis of religion and tradition.
          195. Finally, in order to address the worldwide phenomenon of intolerance and discrimination
          on the grounds of religion and belief, and in the context of the twentieth anniversary of the 1981
          Declaration, the Special Rapporteur has played an active role in the conceptualization and
          ongoing preparation of the 2001 conference on school education in relation to freedom of
          religion and belief, tolerance and non-discrimination. The elaboration and adoption of a
          prevention strategy aimed at the long-term eradication of the evils currently noted at the
          international level in the field of religion and belief naturally presuppose all-round input,
          especially at the preparatory phase of the conference (through suggestions posted on the
          Web site of the High Commissioner's office regarding the conference). The contribution of
          religious and faith-based communities and human rights organizations, particularly in the
          organization of regional seminars preliminary to the Madrid conference, is strongly encouraged
          by the Special Rapporteur.
          196. The interactive participation of the principal religious partners will once again
          demonstrate the essential role of interfaith dialogue as a factor in conflict prevention. In this
          connection, it should be noted that in the course of the International Congress on Inter-religious
          Dialogue and a Culture of Peace, held in Tashkent from 14 to 16 September 2000 under the
          auspices of UNESCO, many experts opined that interfaith cooperation was making impressive
          progress and that religious communities were now considered positive forces rather than divisive
          elements. A study by UNESCO has also found that interfaith initiatives have been launched in
          77 per cent of the countries in the world, and that 97 per cent of respondents considered them
          valuable for peace and intercultural dialogue. The Millennium World Peace Summit, held in
          New York in August 2000, brought together for the first time over 1,000 religious leaders, and
          concluded, inter alia , that no genuine peace could be achieved unless all communities recognized
          the religious and cultural diversity of the human family in a spirit of respect and understanding.
          This was additional evidence of the need for and the value of interfaith dialogue.
        
          
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          197. Lastly, the Special Rapporteur believes that education and interfaith dialogue can
          provide relevant frameworks for all government and non-governmental initiatives relating to
          observance of the twentieth anniversary of the 1981 Declaration in 2001. The Special
          Rapporteur reiterates his recommendation that a Web page should be set up on the site of the
          Office of the High Commissioner to keep the public informed and provide a forum for
          suggestions, plans and messages regarding this event. In particular, the Special Rapporteur
          invites religious and faith-based communities and anyone with an interest in human rights to
          send him suggestions (for example, international, regional or national seminars and art
          exhibitions) of ways to celebrate the 1981 Declaration. This anniversary will provide an
          opportunity to take stock of the 20 years that have elapsed since the Declaration and set a course
          for the twenty-first century.
        
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