Photo: Jehovah's Witnesses in the dock in Kirov. 2018 year

Human Rights

Joint Statement of 36 Public Organizations in Defense of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia


On January 24, 2019, a "Joint Statement on Religious Freedom in Russia" was published in defense of Russian Jehovah's Witnesses, prepared by 36 organizations from 18 countries. Human rights activists call on the Russian government to immediately and unconditionally release all imprisoned Jehovah's Witnesses and drop the charge of extremism against them.

As noted in the statement, in addition to criminal prosecution, believers are subjected to armed searches, disruption of worship services, dismissals, and denial of the right to alternative service. In addition, the state seizes the worship buildings of Jehovah's Witnesses. Separately, the statement refers to the detained foreigners - Dennis Christensen and Andrzej Oniszczuk.

The joint statement was prepared under the auspices of the Civic Solidarity Platform and signed by non-governmental organizations in Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Georgia, Germany, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States. Among the Russian organizations that signed the statement are the SOVA Information and Analytical Center and the Memorial Society.

Earlier, prominent public figures of Russia, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, as well as the President of Russia spoke about the massive violation of the rights of believers in a joint appeal.