Entry Ban for Mr. and Mrs. Moon

English Translation of German Original

Federal Administrative Court
Press Release

Federal Republic of Germany
No. 22/2001
BverwG 1 C 35.00 - Judgement of 10 July, 2001

Original German Text
from DJN - Deutscher Juristischer Nachrichtendienst.

The Federal Administrative Court has decided today that the legal action of the Unification Church of Germany (Vereinigungskirche e.V.), which belongs to the so-called Moon-Movement, against the entry ban for Mr. and Mrs. Moon in effect since 1995, is valid.

Mr. Moon - he and his wife being citizens of the Republic of Korea with legal residence status in the USA - is the founder and leader of the Unification Church with its world wide activities. In November 1995 while on a speaking tour in Europe, he was invited by the Unification Church to deliver a speech on the theme "True Family and I" in Frankfurt/Main. To prevent this, the Frontier Protection Headquarters (Grenzschutzdirektion) in Koblenz listed Mr. and Mrs. Moon in the information system of the Schengen Convention, refusing permission to enter. This was based on the assumption of the Federal Government that the Moon Movement counts among the so-called youth sects and psycho groups which may possibly hold dangers for young people. Based on this listing Mr. and Mrs. Moon were denied entry into the territories of the states belonging to the Schengen Convention upon their arrival at Paris airport by the French authorities. The entry ban was extended for a further 3 years, against which Mr. and Mrs. Moon have not taken legal action.

With its legal action the Unification Church seeks to establish that the listing is unlawful. It considers it a violation of its right of free religious practice according to Art. 4 para. 1 and 2 of the German Constitution. The Administrative Court of Koblenz has dismissed the case on the grounds that this basic law doesn't grant a religious organisation the right of entry of its foreign spiritual leader. On the other hand, the Higher Administrative Court in Koblenz has affirmed the right of action in a preliminary judgement.

The Federal Administrative Court has affirmed the decision of the Higher Administrative Court. It has stated as follows: The action is based on the assessment that the continuation of the entry ban against Mr. and Mrs. Moon is violating proper rights of the Unification Church. With this request the action is permissible. For the admission of an action it is sufficient according to the practice of law, that the asserted infringement of the law seems to be possible. This has to be answered in the affirmative here. According to the assessment of the Higher Administrative Court the Unification Church is to be regarded as a religious association and therefore entitled to the fundamental right of religious freedom. The interest of the Unification Church in the entry of its religious leader can be protected by Article 4 par. 1 and 2 of the Basic Law, especially if the presence of its leader is of significant meaning for the religious practice of its community. Whether this is the case and whether these interests will possibly prevail against the view of the authorities asserting public interests for the entry ban, will have to be considered by the Higher Administrative Court in the context of justifying the action.

BverwG 1 C 35.00 - Judgement of 10 July, 2001