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."

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