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Parliamentary questions
9 June 2017
Joint answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the Commission
Written questions: E-002841/17 , E-002369/17

The European Union is committed to the promotion of freedom of religion or belief as a right to be exercised by everyone everywhere, based on the principles of equality, non-discrimination and universality.

In the specific case of Russia, the High Representative/Vice-President (HR/VP) is closely following the situation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Head of the EU Delegation to Russia met on 4 April 2017 with representatives of Jehovah's Witnesses in Moscow. European External Action Service officials have also met them in Brussels. EU and Member States' diplomats attended some of the sessions of the Supreme Court hearing which lasted from 5 to 20 April 2017.

HR/VP spokesperson issued a statement on 21 April 2017, a day after the Russian Supreme Court declared the Jehovah's Witnesses administrative centre as ‘extremist’, and decided to liquidate it and confiscate all its property.

The 28 EU Member States agreed to issue statements condeming the harassment and persecution against Jehovah's Witnesses at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)'s Permanent Council on 30 March(1) and 27 April 2017(2), as well as in the Council of Europe's Council of Ministers on 5 April 2017(3).

The EU will continue urging the Russian authorities to ensure that Jehovah’s Witnesses, like all other religious groups, must be able to peacefully enjoy freedom of assembly without interference, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation as well as by Russia's international commitments and international human rights standards.


Last updated: 12 June 2017Legal notice