"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

Image for <font size='3'>Welcome to the Site of the Strasbourg Consortium</font>

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.

Image for Upcoming Events

4-6 November 2014. Conference, Religion in the Context of Globalization: Legal Aspects of the Functioning of Religious Organizations, sponsored by Department of History of Religions Institute of Religious Studies, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Krakow, Poland 

12-13 November 2014. The International Conference "Presence of the cross in the public space of the European states", sponsored by the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration Department of Law on Religion, and the Polish Catholic Institute "Sursum Corda"seated in Gdańsk, Poland, Lublin, at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL), Al. Racławickie 14, Aula Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego

Image for Recent Decisions, Judgments and Hearings

Peltereau-Villeneuve v. Switzerland (no. 60101/09) - Chamber Judgment 28 October 2014 - The applicant is a Swiss priest who was accused of sexual abuse. He complained that his right to be presumed innocent under 6 § 2 was violated by the public prosecutor, who used incriminating terms that were then released. The Court found in favor of the applicant.

Gough v. United Kingdom (no. 49327/11) - Chamber Judgment 28 October 2014  - The applicant is a nudist who complained that his right to freedom of expression was violated due to his long imprisonment for refusing to wear clothes. The Court found that there had been no violation of the Convention, ruling that the applicant could have found ways to express his belief that were less offensive to other members of the public.

Erla Hlynsdottir v. Iceland (no. 2) (no. 54125/10) - Chamber Judgment 21 October 2014 - The applicant is an Iceland journalist who published an article about individuals who represented a Christian rehabilitation center until allegations of sexual abuse surfaced. The applicant was found guilty of defamation, and appealed the ruling under Article 10. The Court agreed and ruled that there had been a violation of Article 10.

Begheluri and Others v. Georgia (no. 28490/02) - Chamber Judgment 7 October 2014 - The applicants are 98 Jehovah's Witnesses who complained about large-scale violence towards their faith as well as harassment and inactivity on the part of state authorities. The Court found that that there had been many violations of Articles 3 and 9, separately and when taken... more

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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

Image for Recently Communicated Cases

M.R. v. Netherlands (no. 60814/14) - Communicated 2 September 2014. The applicant is an Iranian national seeking asylum in the Netherlands. He claims that his return to Iran would put him in danger because of his conversion to Christianity.

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... more