"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.
Mansur Yalçın and Others v. Turkey (no. 21163/11) - Chamber Judgment 16 September 2014 - The applicants are members of the Alevi religious community in Turkey. They complained under Article 2 of Protocol No. 1, Article 9, and Article 14 that state classes on "religious culture and ethics" ignored Alevi philosophy. The Court ruled unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education) with regard to Mansur Yalçın, Yüksel Polat and Hasan Kılıç. The Court also observed that the Turkish education system is still poorly equipped to ensure respect for the religious convictions of parents. The Court pointed out that the problem had been already identified in the case of Hasan and Eylem Zengin. Because of this, the Court ordered Turkey to immediately remedy the situation, in particular by creating a system wherein students can be exempted from religion and ethics classes without requiring their parents to disclose their own religious or philosophical convictions.
Atudorei v. Romania (no. 50131/08) - Chamber Judgment 16 September 2014 - In 2003 the applicant attended weekly yoga classes organized by the Movement for Spiritual Integration in Absolute (MISA), which was subject to large-scale negative press and pressure from government officials. In 2005 the applicant returned to her hometown and was physically and tormented by family members who did not approve of her activity with MISA. Eventually the applicant was committed by family members against her will to a nearby psychiatric hospital. She complained... more
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
Bektashi Community and Others v. Macedonia (no. 48044/10) - Communicated 25 August 2014. The Bektashi Community is a religious community in Macedonia which was denied official legal status. The applicants are complaining under Article 6 (right to a fair trial) as well as Articles 9, 11, and 14.
Stavropigijalen Manastir 'Sveti Jovan Zlatoust' and the Church of Real Orthodox Christians and Kiril v. Macedonia (nos. 52849/09 and 35700/11) - Communicated 25 August 2014. The two applicants are religious organizations which applied for registration... more
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.