"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties."
— John Milton
"There will be no peace in our world without an understanding of the place of religion within it."
— Tony Blair
This site is dedicated to reporting and commenting upon issues involving freedom of conscience, religion, or belief throughout the member states of the Council of Europe, with particular focus on the work of the European Court of Human Rights and its predecessor tribunal, the European Commission of Human Rights. We are working to make this site the definitive source of information for scholars and others interested in understanding and having some influence upon the work of the Court in this vital area. Since the decisions on the important issues pending before the Court will shape the basic contours of freedom of religion or belief for years to come, not only throughout Europe, but throughout the world as the Court and its opinions become increasingly influential, the kind of work envisioned by, and carried out by, the Strasbourg Consortium is particularly critical.
We welcome you to our site, and encourage you to investigate its possibilities to determine how it may serve you, and how you might contribute to its success.
15-18 September 2014. CEC/KU Leuven Summer School on Human Rights. Topic: Theology and Human Rights, Freedom of Religion of Belief for All. Held at the Serbian Academy of Science.
16 September 2014. Do religious courts protect human rights? Adam Wagner, Dr Iyad Zahalka, Rabbi Chaim Weiner, sponsored by René Cassin and the UK Task Force, held at Jewish Community Centre London, 6:30 p.m.
23 September 2014. Law and Religion Seminar sponsored by the Human Rights Center of Ghent University in Belgium. If you would like to attend please register by emailing Lourdes Peroni at email@example.com.
Al Nashiri v. Poland (no. 28761/11) and Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland (no. 7511/13) - Chamber Judgments 24 July 2014 - The applicants are both suspected terrorists held by the CIA at a secret CIA "black site" in Poland. The applicants complained about their detention, and the Court found that there had been violations of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment) as well as Articles 5, 8, 13, 6 § 1, and (in the case of Al Nashiri) Articles 2 and 3 taken together with Article 1 of Protocol No. 6. Press releases are available in English and French.
Hämäläinen v. Finland (no. 37359/09) - Grand Chamber Judgment 16 July 2014: The Court upheld a 2012 Fourth Section judgment regarding civil unions. The applicant is a Finnish national who underwent male-to-female gender reassignment surgery in 2009. Having previously changed her first names, she wished to obtain a new identity number that would indicate her female gender in her official documents. However, in order to do so her marriage to a woman would have had to be turned into a civil partnership, which she refused to accept. She complained under Articles 8, 12, and 14. However, the Grand Chamber agreed that there had been no violation of the applicant's rights.
S.A.S. v. France (no. 43835/11) - Grand Chamber Judgment 1 July 2014: The Court upheld a 2011 ban by France on full-face veils in public. The applicant, a French national and Muslim woman, complained that the law violated her rights under Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 9 (freedom of thought, conscience, and religion), and 10 (freedom of expression), as well as Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination). The Court found that "respect for the minimum set of values of an open democratic society," specifically the minimum requirements for "living together," outweighed the individual's choice to wear a full-face veil. By "raising a veil concealing the face" an... more
Samadov v. Azerbaijan (no. 48431/11) - Communicated 30 June 2014. The chairman of the Azerbaijan Islamic Party is appealing his arrest after giving a speech criticizing the government and the ban on wearing Islamic veils in schools.
Holmatova and Others v. Turkey (no. 14355/13) - Communicated 26 June 2014. An Uzbek family who fled religious persecution seeks asylum in Turkey and complains about the conditions of their conditions.
Please click the date to see the link.
January 2014. Annual Report 2013.
24 May 2013. Protocol No. 15 amending the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
22 May 2013. Court launches new website.
March 2013. New and updated case-law factsheets.
January 2013. Annual Report 2012.