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Welcome to the Site of the Strasbourg Consortium 
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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.

PLEASE NOTE: This site is independently operated by the staff of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. It has no official affiliation with the Council of Europe or the European Court of Human Rights.

The Court has published new factsheets on cases dealing with Religious Symbols and Clothing and Freedom of Religion. All of the Court's factsheets as well as country-specific profiles can be found on the Court's website by clicking here

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Belcacemi and Oussar v. Belgium (no. 37798/13) [judgment in French only] - Second Section Judgment 11 July 2017. One of two cases unanimously ruling against applicants (Mulsim women) challenging Belgium laws prohibiting the wearing of partial or full face coverings in public. In June of 2011, a new law went into effect in Belgium that prohibited wearing clothing which totally or principally conceals the face "in places accessible to the public." The applicants complain of indirect discrimination. They argue that as Muslim women who wish to wear the full veil in a public space on religious grounds they belong to a category of persons particularly vulnerable to the prohibition in question and to any attached sanctions. They claim the prohibition is much less restrictive for other... more

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Dyagilev v. Russia (no.49972/16) - Communicated 29 June 2017. Applicant is a Russian national who requested enlistment in a civil service assignment instead of Russia’s compulsory military alternative because of applicant’s adherence to pacifist philosophy.  The applicants request was denied.  The Court questions whether there was an interference with the applicant's freedom of conscience within the meaning of Article 9 section 2 of the Convention.

Milshteyn v. Russia (no. 1377/14) - Communicated 16 June 2017. The applicant is a follower of Elle-Ayat (or Alla-Ayat), a sun worshipping religious cult founded in 1990. The rituals of the cult include the reading of the Formula of Life written in Uyghur script, consumption of tea with milk and salt (called etken çay, “active tea”), observation of the Sun, and energy cleansing sessions. Followers of the cult formed a religious group in Novosibirsk, without legal-entity status. The applicant... more

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Medžlis Islamske Zajednice Brčko and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina (no. 17224/11) – Grand Chamber Judgment 27 June 2017. Applicants (four organizations) complained of violation of freedom of expression in the order to pay damages for defamation following publication of a letter written to the highest authorities of their district complaining about a person’s application for the post of director of Brčko District’s multi-ethnic radio and television station. The Court found that four statements in the letter contained allegations portraying the candidate in question (Ms M.S.) as a person who was disrespectful and contemptuous in her opinions and sentiments about Muslims and ethnic Bosniacs. The nature of the accusations had been such as to seriously call into question Ms M.S.’s suitability for the post of director of the radio and her role as editor of the entertainment programme of a multi-ethnic public radio station. However, the applicants had not established before the domestic courts the "truthfulness of these statements which they knew or ought to have known were false" despite being bound by the requirement to verify the veracity of their allegations even if these had been disclosed to the authorities by means of private correspondence. The Court therefore held that the applicants had not had a sufficient factual basis to support their allegations... more


The COURTalks-disCOURs videos are geared to providing legal professionals, as well as civil society representatives, with an overview of the Court’s jurisprudence in different matters. Made in cooperation with the European HELP programme, these educational videos are subtitled in different languages and are available with a transcript setting out the relevant case-law precedents in each sphere.

Press release HELP website