The European Union and the United States issued separate statements expressing concern over how the Russian government has mistreated Jehovah’s Witnesses. The statements expose as false Russia’s claim that its ban on the legal entities of Jehovah’s Witnesses would not affect the freedom of individual Witnesses to practice their faith. However, as the European Union stated, that “claim is inconsistent with its [the Russian government’s] actions.” In comparing Russia’s claim with its treatment of the Witnesses, the United States concluded that “the opposite is the case.”

Russian authorities have imprisoned eight Witness men and are currently conducting 12 criminal investigations in 11 cities. While the increasing number of properties being confiscated is deeply worrying, the principal concern is the suffering of individual Christians who are being persecuted for their faith.

Both the European Union and the United States have called on the Russian government to respect its commitments to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief.

Link to the statements:

https://www.osce.org/permanent-council/381820

https://www.osce.org/permanent-council/381823