CAP LC 2012
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CULT IN FRANCE : Article
undercover agent of the State?
The initials of the 1901 Act association UNADFI mean: Union Nationale des Associations de Défense de la Famille et de lIndividu facing sects.
As the sects it combats, Unadfi has its critics. But public opinion seems to ignore what the watchdog committee on associations subsidies has just revealed: UNADFIS financing
Indeed, while utilité publique associations must be supported mainly by their members, (Unadfi is supposed to be one since 1996), and we discover that for more than ten years, it has been financed 96% with public money stemming from various ministries. Millions of Euros paid by the tax payer against some thousands in donations from members and supporters.
This leads to questioning the use of this association by the ministries that support it. Indeed, the French constitution forbids the interference of the executive in religious matters. Moreover the separation of powers puts aside the executive (and legislative) powers from the judicial arena, and it cannot bring legal action acting jointly with the prosecutor in sect stories or other political justice puzzles.
But Unadfi as Association dUtilité Publique has the right to sue and act jointly with the prosecutor, pursuant to the Abou-Picard Act (bearing both the names of Senator Abou and Unadfis current Chairwoman Mme Picard). Unadfi did not miss the opportunity (Trial of Scientology, cases against deviant doctors etc.). As Associations dUtilité Publique are supposed to be financed by their members, we understand that normally they don't act on behalf of the State and might keep certain neutrality without putting the neutrality of the authorities at stake. It is otherwise for Unadfi. Financed at 97% by the State, it is the armed arm which permits certain executive officials to come to court undercover.
When Catherine Picard was at the bar in the Scientology case, she let a phrase slip out before the magistrates: Actually, we depend from the Ministry of Social Affairs. Sentence sending shudders in high places, on the source of a plan which has worked smoothly up to now. Indeed, since 1996, Social Affairs (joint authority with the Ministries of Health and Labor) gave Unadfi 1, 224, 000 € in subsidies. Since 2004 the Prime Minister gives 110, 000 € in subsidies every year to this association. They would be subsidies given under the influence of the Miviludes, inter ministerial mission under the Prime Minister pursuing the same goals than Unadfi but unable to bring legal action acting jointly with the prosecutor.
Another detail: since a few years, Unadfi is asked to train magistrates on how to sentence sects. This is an interference of the State on the Judicial Power, supposed to be independent.
Practices which, in case of generalisation, and if they spread to other domains would really endanger the separation of powers in our constitution.
(1) Officially recognized as beneficial to the public at large and benefitting of a particular status and advantages under French Law.
CAPLC - CAP pour la Liberté de Conscience - Liberté de Religion - Liberté de Conviction