I just stumbled across this, thought you may want it for your research.
Longstanding Watchtower policy:
"the receiver of a blood transfusion must be cut off from God's people by excommunication or disfellowshiping"
--The Watchtower January 15, 1961, page 64
JW org. promises Human Rights Commission to allow "free choice"
& end penalties for accepting blood
then hides this information from their membership & the public
In a startling series of events . . .
(1) Last year the JW organization gave false testimony to the European Commission of Human Rights—declaring that "there are no religious sanctions for a Jehovah's Witness who chooses to accept blood transfusion." (See "Press communiqué" below.) [Actual sanctions: disfellowshipping]
(2) In a March 1998 settlement the organization agreed to give JWs "free choice in the matter for themselves and their children, without any control or sanction on the part of the association." (See pg. 1 )
(3) The Watchtower's April 27 press release covered up the agreement, implying the settlement included concessions by the Bulgarian government but none by the JWs. (See next article. .)
from official website http://www.dhcommhr.coe.fr/eng/28626CP.E.html
Press communiqué issued by the Secretary
On 3 July 1997, the European Commission of Human Rights (Council of Europe)
The Government submit that children participate in the association's
THE LEGAL CASE began when the JW organization took the government of Bulgaria before the European Commission of Human Rights over alleged persecution. Bulgarian government officials argued that their actions were justified because, among other things, the JW organization's policies "endanger public health" because its teachings do "not have respect for the human life as it requires to refuse blood transfusion even when this would bring death." (See the Human Rights Commission's official July 1997 "Press communiqué..." reproduced above.)
On this point the Jehovah's Witness leadership testified that refusal was not required: "there are no religious sanctions for a Jehovah's Witness who chooses to accept blood transfusion." (See July 1997 "Press communiqué..." .)
This Watchtower testimony was an outright lie, because the longstanding policy is to punish violators: "the receiver of a blood transfusion must be cut off from God's people by excommunication or disfellowshiping." ( The Watchtower January 15, 1961, page 64)
Apparently the Human Rights Commission became aware of the organization's actual policy of punishing JWs who receive blood, because the JW organization agreed to stop doing that as part of the settlement of this case. Settlement was announced during the March 2-13, 1998, session of the European Commission of Human Rights (Council of Europe) at the Human Rights Building in Strasbourg.
The Commission's official press release (No. 148) announced settlement of the case—KHRISTIANSKO SDRUZHENIE "SVIDETELI NA IEHOVA" (CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES) v. Bulgaria — Application No. 28626/95 — stating that the Bulgarian government had agreed to certain concessions and the Witness organization "undertook with regard to its stance on blood transfusions to draft a statement for inclusion in its statute providing that members should have free choice in the matter for themselves and their children, without any control or sanction on the part of the association."
Does this settlement affect only a few Jehovah's Witnesses in the tiny country of Bulgaria? No, the JW leadership's agreement to stop enforcing its ban on blood will automatically affect Jehovah's Witnesses throughout Europe because the European Commission of Human Rights is an agency of the Council of Europe, with its decisions serving as legal precedent for member states: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechstenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.
Mexico/Malawi double standard — again?
What about the rest of the world? Will Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the lands just listed "have free choice in the matter for themselves and their children, without any control or sanction on the part of the association," while members in North America and other lands must continue to refuse blood under fear of disfellowshipping?
There have been times in the past when the Watchtower Society enforced such discriminatory policies. Former Governing Body member Raymond Franz documents such inequality between Mexico and Malawi, where Mexican JWs were allowed to obtain and carry the military service "Cartilla" while Malawian JWs had to endure brutal mistreatment for refusal of a card required in that country. (See the chapter titled "Double Standards" in the book Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz, Commentary Press, Atlanta, 1992 edition.) But the world was unaware of the Mexican situation until Franz published his documentation. The Bulgarian blood agreement was made, not in the Bulgarian language in an obscure local courtroom in Eastern Europe, but before the multi-nation Council of Europe in its international Human Rights Building in Strasbourg, France -- with the official settlement published worldwide.
It will be impossible for the Watchtower Society to hide this decision from its 14 million adherents outside Bulgaria.
Why is Brooklyn trying to hide the agreement?
In mid-April the "The Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood — Elders and Hospital Liaison Committee Members" ( http://www.visiworld.com/starter/newlight/ ) picked up on the organization's 1997 perjury and began directing visitors to the European Commission's website to see for themselves. Going there, I discovered the official notice posted at http://188.8.131.52/eng/E276INFO.148.html summarizing the settlement agreed to by the JW officials and the Bulgarian government.
On April 20, I sent out an e-mail message to hundreds of ex-JWs, countercult workers, and media newsrooms with the subject line: "WT OKAYS FREE CHOICE ON BLOOD **NEWS**BULLETIN**." My e-mail quoted text from the Commission's web page, and concluded by telling the recipients, "If the WT keeps its promise to the European Commission, it must officially revoke these instructions: 'the receiver of a blood transfusion must be cut off from God's people by excommunication or disfellowshiping....'"
The next day ex-JW Jeffery Schwehm phoned the Watchtower Society's Brooklyn headquarters and heard from an official spokesman that there continues to be "no change." JWs who permit transfusions for themselves or their children will still be disfellowshipped, worldwide:
I could not resist it. So, I called the Watchtower Society and asked them
The operator transferred me to the Public Affairs Office where the guy who
He reiterated to me that accepting a Blood Transfusion is a
[See next article for the cover-up by the Watch Tower Society.]