The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 government agency
Government agency
A government or state agency is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types...

, has the task of:
  • observing and analyzing movements perceived as constituting a threat to public order or that violate French law
  • coordinating the appropriate response
  • informing the public about potential risks
  • helping victims to receive aid

The mission of MIVILUDES involves analysing "the phenomenon of movements with a cultic character whose actions affront the rights of man and fundamental liberties, or which constitute a threat to public order or which are contrary to the laws and regulations".

MIVILUDES originated in a president
President of the French Republic
The President of the French Republic colloquially referred to in English as the President of France, is France's elected Head of State....

ial decree on 28 November 2002. Jean-Louis Langlais, a senior civil-servant at the Ministry of the Interior, served as its president from 2002 to 2005.
Jean-Michel Roulet became president of MIVILUDES in October 2005. In 2008, Georges Fenech
Georges Fenech
-Biography:Born to a Maltese father and Italian mother in Sousse in Tunisia, in 1963 Fenech's family was repatriated in France, where they settled in Givors. After studying for a law degree, he started a career as a judge...

 became president of MIVILUDES.

In its announcement of the formation of MIVILUDES, the French government acknowledged that the predecessor of MIVILUDES, MILS (the Mission interministérielle de lutte contre les sectes or "Interministerial Mission in the Fight Against Cults"), had received criticism from outside France for certain actions potentially interpretable as contrary to religious freedom. The decree establishing MIVILUDES
referred to MILS only indirectly in announcing the abrogation (in Article 8) of the decree establishing MILS.

In an interview given in March 2003, Langlais emphasized the fight not against "sects" (cult
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices...

s), but against "sectarian deviances". He stated that "current French law" lacks a definition for a "sect" and, therefore "the law cannot define sectarian deviances". Nevertheless he portrayed the role of MIVILUDES as contributing "to defining what could simply be an administrative jurisprudence".


MIVILUDES provides information related to "cultic deviances" to the media, to the French government, and to individuals. It recommends contacts and other organizations, and produces and archives documentation and discussion-papers on groups considered cults.


The French authorities set up MIVILUDES as the successor to MILS
MILS may refer to:* Multiple Independent Levels of Security, a high-assurance computer security architectural concept or "Interministerial Mission in the Fight Against Cults", a French government agency...

 (Mission interministérielle de lutte contre les sectes or "Interministerial Mission in the Fight Against Cults"), which itself functioned from 7 October 1998 as the successor to the Observatoire interministériel sur les sectes established on 9 May 1996.

The "Interministerial Mission in the Fight Against Cults" (MILS) headed by Alain Vivien
Alain Vivien
Alain Vivien is a French Socialist Party politician, best known for chairing the French Mission Interministérielle pour la Lutte contre les Sectes, MILS, a ministerial organism designed to observe the activities of various religious organizations defined as "Sectes" .-Early career:He was mayor of...

, formed to coordinate government monitoring of sectes (the French word for "cults"). In February 1998 MILS released its annual report on the monitoring of cults. The activities of the MILS and Alain Vivien's background as the head of an anti-cult organization
Anti-Cult Movement
The anti-cult movement is a term used by academics and others to refer to groups and individuals who oppose cults and new religious movements. Sociologists David G...

 (he served as President of the Centre Roger Ikor (Centre de documentation, d'éducation et d'action Contre les Manipulations Mentales from 1997 to 1998) occasioned criticism from several human-rights organizations, such as the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights was a self-governing group of non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations that act to protect human rights throughout Europe, North America and Central Asia...

as well as from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate...

(a government agency of the United States of America). (See also About-Picard law#Reactions). In January 1999 Vivien requested and received police protection following threats and the burglary of his home.

Vivien resigned in June 2002 under criticism.

The 2004 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, concluded with an assessment that the restructuring of the main French agency concerned with this issue — referring to the new MIVILUDES replacing its predecessor, the Mission Interministérielle pour la Lutte contre les Sectes [Interministerial Commission to Combat the Cults] (MILS) — had reportedly improved religious freedoms in France.

On 27 May 2005 (just before he left office), the then Prime Minister of France
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

, Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Jean-Pierre Raffarin is a French conservative politician and senator for Vienne.Jean-Pierre Raffarin served as the Prime Minister of France from 6 May 2002 to 31 May 2005, resigning after France's rejection of the referendum on the European Union draft constitution. However, after Raffarin...

, issued a circulaire
In France, Italy, Belgium, and some other civil law countries, a circulaire , circolare or omzendbrief consists of a text intended for the members of a service, of an enterprise, or of an administration....

on cultic activities in France. He called for increased vigilance and activity from public servants and indicated that the list of cults published on the parliamentary report had become less pertinent because of the way in which cults had evolved, and that in certain circumstances public servants should substitute specific criteria.

Cette vigilance doit s'exercer en tenant compte de l'évolution du phénomène sectaire, qui rend la liste de mouvements annexée au rapport parlementaire de 1995 de moins en moins pertinente. On constate en effet la formation de petites structures, diffuses, mouvantes et moins aisément identifiables, qui tirent en particulier parti des possibilités de diffusion offertes par l'internet. [Translation: We must exercise this vigilance in taking account of the evolution of the cult-phenomenon, which makes the list of movements attached to the Parliamentary Report of 1995 less and less pertinent. Indeed, one can observe the formation of small groups, scattered, mobile and less-easily identifiable, and which make use in particular of the possibilities of spreading offered by the Internet.] [...] et le recours à des listes de groupements sera évité au profit del'utilisation de faisceaux de critères. [Translation: one should avoid lists of groups in favor of the ulitization of specific criteria.]

See also

  • Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France
  • Status of religious freedom in France
    Status of religious freedom in France
    Freedom of religion in France is guaranteed by the constitutional rights set forth in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen....

External links

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