Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Freedom of Religion in Public Schools

Freedom of Religion in Public Schools: Strasbourg Court v. UN Human Rights Committee

Excellent post on this topic at Strasbourg Observers:

"In a recent decision, the Human Rights Committee of the UN found a violation of the right to freedom of religion in a case concerning the famous and highly debated French law of 2004 that prohibits the wearing of religious garment in public schools...

...This is not the first time the UN Committee adopts a reasoning differing from the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in freedom of religion cases. In both cases the Human Rights jurisdictions do not only differ on outcome (violation v. inadmissibility) but their approach towards the applicant is completely opposite. While the ECtHR views the cases merely in light of the interests of the State, the UN Committee balances the arguments of all parties in a more convincing way, taking the fundamental rights of the applicants seriously all the while acknowledging the State’s interests. Hence, with this case the UN Committee gives again a clear signal that a general principle such as secularism, however important, cannot blindly trump individuals’ rights, such as the right to freedom of religion, without looking at the particularities of the case."

Monday, 25 February 2013

Legal Guidance from the EHRC

Equality and Human Rights Commission launches new guidance on religion and belief in the workplace

Symbols representing various religions
"The Commission has published new guidance to help employers and employees deal with the expression of religion or belief at work. The guidance follows the European Court of Human Rights judgment in four cases about religious rights in the workplace, one of which found that an employee suffered a breach of her right to religious freedom for being told not to wear a cross at work. However, the fact that this judgment could be overturned on appeal and it could take time for domestic courts to re-interpret existing domestic law, has the potential to cause confusion. The Commission has therefore produced straightforward, expert guidance to clarify the law."

Employer Guidance and Legal Explanation can be downloaded in both (pdf and Word format) from

There are also some really helpful Employer Questions and Answers at the end of the page. Press the title to expand.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Religious Right in UK

Dawkins v Williams: Cambridge Debate

Richard Dawkins v Rowan Williams Debate at Cambridge Union 

Coverage of the debate on YouTube:

Comment on the debate in the Independent:
Comment from Christian Post:

And the Guardian:

Huffington Post: