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MIVILUDES (an acronym for the French-language phrase Mission interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires, i.e. "Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances"), a French government agency, 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".[1]

MIVILUDES originated in a presidential 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.[2] Jean-Michel Roulet became president of MIVILUDES in October 2005.[2] In 2008, Georges Fenech became president of MIVILUDES.[3]

In its announcement[citation needed] 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[4] 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" (cults), 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".[5]


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.[6]


The French authorities set up MIVILUDES as the successor to MILS (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, 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 (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;[7] as well as from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom[citation needed] (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.[8]

Vivien resigned in June 2002 under criticism.[9]

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.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ From the Journal Officiel of 28 November 2002, quoted in http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_interministérielle_de_vigilance_et_de_lutte_contre_les_dérives_sectaires : Sa mission est définie officiellement (dans le Journal Officiel du 28 novembre 2002) comme étant d'analyser « le phénomène des mouvements à caractère sectaire dont les agissements sont attentatoires aux droits de l'homme et aux libertés fondamentales ou constituent une menace à l'ordre public ou sont contraires aux lois et règlements ».
  2. ^ a b Mission Interministérielle de VIgilance et de LUtte contre les DÉrives Sectaires
  3. ^ Historique//La MIVILUDES
  4. ^ Mission Interministérielle de VIgilance et de LUtte contre les DÉrives Sectaires
  5. ^ 'France and "cults": a new orientation' - Interview with Jean-Louis Langlais, by Willy Fautré. Compass Direct, 5 April 2003. Available online; retrieved 2007-01-28
  6. ^ Mission Interministérielle de VIgilance et de LUtte contre les DÉrives Sectaires
  7. ^ "Open Letter to Alain Vivien about Religious Freedom in France". June 15, 2000. 
  8. ^ L'Humanité, January 14, 1999; http://www.humanite.fr/journal/1999-01-14/1999-01-14-441385
  9. ^ Alain Vivien Resigns from President of the French Anti-Cult Mission
  10. ^ United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

External links[edit]