The European definition of freedom of religion or belief Bahia Tahzib-Lie* 1. Two-strand dermition of freedom of religion or belief The right to freedom of religion or belief is enshrined in numerous instruments adopted both at the global and regional level.' Most of the regional instruments overwhelmingly apply to European governments.2 The relevant obligations (legally binding) and commitments (not legally binding) contained in these instruments are not in themselves a licence for good behaviour. Some European countries have, for instance, been challenged before the Human Rights Committee and the Strasbourg organs for not living up to their obligations regarding freedom of religion or belief. The allegations before the Human Rights Committee, however, did not warrant any finding of a violation. Furthermore, it was not until 1993 and then 1996 and 1998 that the European Court of Human Rights held that a government (each time the same government) had breached an individual's freedom of religion or belief.' Obviously these cases do not prove that the right to freedom of religion or belief is mostly violated by European governments. Many of the international instruments which apply to European governments provide a two-part definition of the right to freedom of religion
Helsinki Monitor (in 2008 continued as Security and Human Rights) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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