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PACE rapporteur welcomes German authorities' determination to combat excesses of sects

Strasbourg, 10.06.2013 – Following a fact-finding visit to Berlin to prepare his report on "the protection of minors against sectarian influence", the rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Rudy Salles (France, EPP/CD) has welcomed the German authorities' determination to combat the phenomenon of "sectarian abuse".

"This task is made considerably easier by the fact that the German state recognises only a limited number of religions in law, such as the Catholic and Protestant Churches, the Jewish community and certain Muslim communities, which automatically rules out other movements acquiring the status of a ‘religion’,” he pointed out. He was particularly pleased to see the convergence of views on this point between the political groups in the Bundestag and the action taken by the federal authorities and the authorities of the Länder to prevent minors being abused by sects.

Even so, while the Länder carry out highly efficient checks on compliance with compulsory schooling, the opening of borders within the European Union have enabled sectarian movements to expand into other countries with a view to dispensing their own teaching, making it necessary to establish common standards in Europe to protect minors, said the rapporteur.

During his visit, Mr Salles held talks with members of the Bundestag and representatives of the administration of the Senate in Berlin and the Protestant and Catholic Churches.