"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.
23 October 2014. IFR Roundtable in Brussels – Europe, Second meeting, 14h00 to 16h30 at Renaissance Hotel, Rue de Parnasse 19 - 1050 Brussels (2 minutes walk from the EU Parliament)
23-24 October 2014. Judging Faiths: Religious Freedom at the Bar in U.S. and European Courts, Oliver Roy and Pasquale Annicchino, ReligioWest, Conference Room, Villa La Fonte via delle Fontanelle, 18 – San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy
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 in conjunction with Article 14.
Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg and Others v. Russia (no. 47191/06) - Chamber Judgment 2 October 2014 - The applicants, ten founding members of the Church of Scientology Mission of St. Petersburg, complained about the refusal of Russian authorities to register their movment as a legal entity. The Court ruled that there had been a violation of Article 9 in light of Article 11.
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... 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
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.
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.