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Welcome to the Site of the Strasbourg Consortium 
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PLEASE NOTE: This site has no official affiliation with the Council of Europe or the European Court of Human Rights. It is independently operated by the staff of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University Law School in the United States. 

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.  For links to information on the operations of the Court, see About the Court.

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Gülbahar Özer and Yusuf Özer v Turkey (no. 64406/09) - Second Section Chamber Judgment 29 May 2018. Applicants are a brother and a sister who each suffered loss of a child killed by soldiers in southeast Turkey. National authorities refused to allow the parents' permission to bury their children's bodies in a religious ceremony in the local cemetery, due to disturbances linked to the banned organization of PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). Instead, the bodies were confiscated by soldiers and eventually buried in another town, and the applicants’ efforts to move them to a cemetery of their own choice were unsuccessful. The Court found that the confiscation of the children’s bodies, coupled with the authorities’ refusal to allow burial where and how the applicants wanted, had been in breach of Article 8 (right to family and private life) of the Convention. The measure had not struck a fair balance between the applicants’ right to the protection of their private and family life and the legitimate aims of public safety, the prevention of disorder and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Stomakhin v. Russia (no. 52273/07) - Third Section Chamber Judgment 9 May 2018. The applicant is a Chechen journalist and activist.... more

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Christian Religious Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the NKR v. Armenia (no. 41817/10) - Communicated 15 March 2018. The applicants are the Christian Religious Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses NKR, a religious community established in the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh in 1993 ("the applicant community") and an Armenian national, Mr. Sargis Avanesyan, the community elder living in Stepanakert ("the applicant").  In June 2009, the applicant community applied to the NKR Government for state registration. In July 2009, the NKR government staff provided an expert opinion to determine if the applicant community fulfilled the requirements of Article 5 of the NKR law.  The expert opinion concluded that by their ideology, the applicant community is  "far from a Christian organization." In August 2009, the State Registry Department rejected the application relying on the expert opinion.  In spring of 2010, the police raided the religious meetings of the applicant community and arrested five members who were charged with an administrative offense. The applicants complain under Articles 9 and 11 of the Convention of the continued refusal of the NKR authorities to register... more

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Kàroly Nagy v. Hungary (no. 56665/09) - Grand Chamber Judgment 14 September 2017). Kàroly Nagy, a pastor in the Hungarian Calvinist Church, was dismissed following a disciplinary procedure in 2006. He initiated labor-law proceedings for unpaid renumeration against the church, but complained that his case was dismissed by state courts because they are ecclesiastical in nature. Mr Nagy then brought proceedings before both the labour and civil courts. Both sets of proceedings were ultimately discontinued on the ground that the courts had no jurisdiction. The labour courts discontinued the proceedings in December 2006, on the ground that the dispute concerned Mr Nagy’s service as a pastor and therefore the provisions of Labour Law were not applicable in his case. That decision was upheld on appeal in April 2007. Mr Nagy’s civil-law claim was also ultimately... more


The Copenhagen Declaration (full text) (High Level Conference, The Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe)

Draft Copenhagen Declaration (full text) (The Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe)

Commentary on the Final Copenhagen Declaration (Janneke Gerards and Sarah Lambrecht, ECHR Blog)

ECtHR: Opinion on the draft Copenhagen Declaration (European Court of Human Rights, Adopted by the Bureau in light of the discussion in the Plenary Court on 19 February 2018)

Joint NGO statement following the Danish Chairmanship’s High-Level Expert Conference (EHRAC with Amnesty International, International Commission of Jurists, European Implementation Network, SOS-Torture Network, European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC))

Undue political pressure is not dialogue: The draft Copenhagen Declaration and its potential repercussions on the Court’s independence

... more