For a sampling of headlines concerning freedom of religion or belief issues concerning Europe, and in particular Member States of the Council of Europe, please see the Headline News Page. Note that that opinions expressed or biases reflected in these headlines do not necessarily reflect opinions or attitudes of the Strasbourg Consortium hosting organization, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA. We strive for balance in presenting issues of potential interest to our readers.
Mikolaj Wrzecionkowski, Assistant Programme Officer at OSCE/ODIHR, during a training in Kyiv, on right to freedom of religion or belief for lawyers in Ukraine, 11 February 2016
Credit: OSCE/Tetyana Korshykova
The right to freedom of religion or belief in the case law and practice of the European Court of Human Rights was the focus of training organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on 11 and 12 February 2016 in Kyiv.
The event provided 17 lawyers with a greater understanding of the main principles underpinning the right to freedom of religion or belief as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, as well as of the relevant case law and the procedural aspects of bringing cases before the Court.
"Freedom of religion or belief under the European Convention of Human Rights is valueless unless the right can be enforced through legal process," Mark Hill, a barrister specializing in human rights and law and religion who represents clients in the United Kingdom... more
The Steering Group of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB) met on 9 February 2016 at the Palace of Westminster, United Kingdom, to reflect on the outcomes of the New York summit that took place in September 2015 and create a roadmap for future activities of the IPPFoRB. Hosted by Baroness Elizabeth Berridge of the House of Lords, members of the Steering Group include Abid Raja, Norwegian MP; David Anderson, Canadian MP; Leonardo Quintão, Brazilian congressman; Jose M Ibañez, Paraguayan MP; Uziel Santana, IPPFoRB Secretariat; and Knox Thames, IPPFoRB Secretariat. David Kirkham, Senior Fellow, represented ICLRS at the meeting. The group noted the contributions BYU and ICLRS made to the formation of the panel two years ago in Oxford. For more information on the New York summit, see the IPPFoRB news release.
From the website of the Conference of European Churches
Press Release No: 15/34 - September 2015 - Istanbul/Heybeliada
From September 7 to 9 more than 40 human rights experts from across Europe journeyed to the hilltop theological school of Halki on the Turkish island of Heybeliada. Once the heart of theological education for the Orthodox world, the school closed in 1971 as a result of a ban on private higher education in Turkey. Arriving by plane, train, and even by foot, participants discussed and debated approaches to advancing freedom of religion or belief.
Participants were drawn from CEC Member Churches, civil society, academia, and the European Institutions. Topics covered included the need for religious literacy, the role of religion in the public and political spheres, the need for greater internal and external coherence of... more
The Conference Developing a multilateral approach to freedom of religion or belief: a European perspective was held 9-11 February 2015 at Wiston House, Wilton Park. Wilton Park is an international forum for strategic discussion located in Sussex, United Kingdom. The Wilton Park conference was part of a larger project of transatlantic policy dialogue funded by the British Council/Luce Foundation Bridging Voices programme entitled ‘Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and Foreign Policy: A transatlantic dialogue for a multilateral approach to religious freedom’. The first leg of will focus on the emerging European approach and the U.S./European divide, but will also starting opening up the discussion over the policy prospects of a joint... more
Report from Cole Durham at the European Parliament
On February 4, 2015, the European Parliamentary Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance hosted, at the European Parliament in Brussels, a launch event for the newly published ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities.
The event was chaired by MEP Dennis de Jong, Co-President of the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance of the EU Parliament, and featured introductory remarks by Snježana Bokulić, Head of the Human Rights Department, OSCE/ODIHR; a presentation of the Guidelines by Finola Flanagan, Former Member of the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (The Venice Commission) and Engy Abdelkader, Member of the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Panel on Freedom of Religion or Belief; and comments by John Kinahan, of Forum 18. After formal presentations... more