Strasbourg Observers

View posts from: Freedom of Religion

  • Cathérine Van de Graaf

The Human Rights Centre submitted a joint third party intervention in a case before the ECtHR against Belgium concerning a ban of religious symbols in public high schools

September 01, 2021

Cathérine Van de Graaf is a research fellow at the Academy for European Human Rights Protection (University of Cologne) and affiliated researcher at the Human Rights Centre (Ghent University). The Human Rights Centre of Ghent University (Belgium) submitted a joint third party intervention (TPI) before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or the Court) […]

  • Guest Blogger

The Case of Perovy v. Russia: Dealing with the Right to Freedom of Religion in the Educational Sphere through Picking the Right Fruits

December 10, 2020

By Inez van Soolingen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) In the case of Perovy v. Russia, Ms. Perova and Mr. Perov complained that a rite of blessing in their son’s classroom, carried out by a priest of a different belief than their own, violated their rights under Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (hereafter: the Protocol) and […]

  • Guest Blogger

Grimmark v. Sweden and Steen v. Sweden: no right for healthcare professionals to refuse to participate in abortion services, and framing strategies by anti-abortion actors.

April 06, 2020

This blogpost was written by Niklas Barke, PhD Candidate, Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University On the 11th of March, the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) issued its decisions in Grimmark v. Sweden and Steen v. Sweden, two cases casting light on the issue of refusal by healthcare professionals to participate in […]

  • Guest Blogger

Stuck in the middle with Papageorgiou: Missed or new opportunities?

November 27, 2019

Effie Fokas is a political scientist and a Senior Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Research Associate of the London School of Economics Hellenic Observatory, and member of the Henry Luce/Leadership 100 project on Orthodoxy and Human Rights (Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University). She was also Principal Investigator of […]

  • Guest Blogger

Lachiri v. Belgium: Headscarf ban imposed on a civil party in a courtroom in violation of religious freedom

November 23, 2018

By Julie Ringelheim, researcher with the FRS-FNRS and Professor at Louvain University. In Lachiri v. Belgium, decided on 18 September 2018, the European Court of Human Rights held that excluding a woman from the courtroom, who was a civil party to the case, on the ground that she wore an ‘Islamic headscarf’ (hijab) amounted to […]

  • Eva Brems

Skullcap in the Courtroom: A rare case of mandatory accommodation of Islamic religious practice

December 11, 2017

In Hamidović v Bosnia and Herzegovina (5 December 2017), the Fourth Section of the Court found a violation of articles 9 and 14 ECHR on account of the punishment of a witness for wearing an Islamic skullcap in the courtroom. As almost all claims for accommodation of Islamic religious practice have failed before the Court, […]

  • Guest Blogger

Belkacemi and Oussar v Belgium and Dakir v Belgium: the Court again addresses the full-face veil, but it does not move away from its restrictive approach

July 25, 2017

By Marcella Ferri, ​Adjunct Professor of International Human Rights Law – ASERI, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan (Italy), and Adjunct Professor of Institutions of Comparative and European Law – module of European Law – University of Bergamo, Bergamo (Italy) On 11 July 2017, the European Court of Human Rights delivered two similar judgments in the Belkacemi and Oussar […]

  • Guest Blogger

Osmanoğlu and Kocabaş v. Switzerland: A Swiss perspective

March 30, 2017

By Fabienne Bretscher, PhD Student at the University of Zurich, Visiting Researcher at the Erasmus School of Law Rotterdam In a recent judgment, the ECtHR found that the refusal to grant Muslim students exemption from mandatory swimming classes in Swiss public schools did not amount to a violation of the right to freedom of religion […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

European Court of Justice keeps the door to religious discrimination in the private workplace opened. The European Court of Human Rights could close it.

March 27, 2017

By Saïla Ouald-Chaib and Valeska David On 14 March 2017, the European Court of Justice issued two judgments, in the cases of Achbita and Bougnaoui concerning the manifestation of beliefs in the private workplace. From the perspective of inclusion and human rights law, the judgments are very disappointing. They basically legitimize and even provide a […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

ECJ headscarf series (6): The vicious circle of prejudices against Muslim women

September 20, 2016

By Saïla Ouald Chaib The day the opinion of Advocate General Kokott in the case of Achbita v. G4S came out, my phone did not stop ringing. The press wanted to know if this opinion really meant that employers could refuse to hire women wearing a hijab. The fact that even journalists sounded surprised speaks […]

  • Eva Brems

ECJ headscarf series (5): The Field in which Achbita will Land – A Brief Sketch of Headscarf Persecution in Belgium

September 16, 2016

By Eva Brems What is at Stake? The Hijab Wearer as an Outlaw The corporate anti-headscarf policy that is challenged in the Achbita case has to be situated in the context of a country that has seen headscarf bans expand like an oil stain from one sector to the next. This results in a situation […]

  • Guest Blogger

ECJ headscarf series (4): The dark side of neutrality

September 14, 2016

By Emmanuelle Bribosia[1] and Isabelle Rorive[2], Université libre de Bruxelles The Achbita and the Bougnaoui cases give a first opportunity to the European Court of Justice to address religious discrimination. Since the adoption of the anti-discrimination directives after the Amsterdam treaty, the Court ruled on a significant number of cases, mostly on discrimination based on […]

  • Guest Blogger

ECJ headscarf series (3): The Everyday Troubles of Pluralism

September 12, 2016

By Matthias Mahlmann, University of Zürich Differences and Common Ground This is legal deliberation with an edge: the two Opinions of Advocate General Kokott in the case of Achbita (C-157/15) and of Advocate General Sharpston in the case of Bougnaoui (C-188/15) come to opposing results though dealing with cases that are, in many respects, very […]

  • Guest Blogger

ECJ headscarf series (2): the role of choice; and the margin of appreciation

September 08, 2016

By Lucy Vickers, Oxford Brookes University In this post, I focus on two issues of note regarding the divergent reasoning of the Advocates General. The first is the question of whether or not religion is immutable, and whether the answer to that question is helpful in determining the extent to which religion should be protected […]

  • Eva Brems

Headscarves in Luxembourg – A blog series on the contrasting Opinions of AG Kokott and AG Sharpston

September 07, 2016

By Eva Brems The Kokott-Sharpston Standoff at the Threshold to the Summer of Shame In France and Belgium, the summer of 2016 will be remembered as the summer of the burkini debates. Numerous French municipalities banned Islamic swimgear that covers the body, and in Belgium, majority politicians called for a similar ‘burkini’ ban. The world […]

  • Guest Blogger

Grand Chamber Judgment in Izzettin Doğan and Others v. Turkey: More Than a Typical Religious Discrimination Case

July 18, 2016

This guest post was written by Dr. Mine Yildirim (*) On 26 April 2016, the Grand Chamber held, by 12 votes to 5, that there had been a violation of Article 9 ECHR, and, by 16 votes to 1, that there had been a violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 9 ECHR […]

  • Eva Brems

Face veils in Strasbourg (bis): the Belgian cases

December 28, 2015

By Eva Brems In the Grand Chamber judgment of SAS v France (2014) the European Court of Human Rights held that France’s ban on face covering in public could be justified under article 9 ECHR as a proportionate measure for the aim of guaranteeing ‘le vivre ensemble’ (living together). Given the storm of protest that […]

  • Eva Brems

Ebrahimian v France: headscarf ban upheld for entire public sector

November 27, 2015

By Eva Brems On 26 November, the Court added a new chapter to its ‘headscarf’ jurisprudence, upholding the non-renewal of a contract in a public hospital on the ground of the applicant’s refusal to take off her headscarf. The case in brief 15 years ago, in December 2000, the applicant, who had been working for […]

  • Guest Blogger

New ECSR decision on conscience-based refusals protects women’s right to access abortion

August 04, 2015

Guest post by Katrine Thomasen, Legal Adviser for Europe, Center for Reproductive Rights. The Center for Reproductive Rights together with the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) submitted joint observations to the ECSR regarding the complaint. The European Committee of Social Rights (Committee) recently rejected a complaint filed by the Federation of Catholic Families in […]

  • Lourdes Peroni

Karaahmed v. Bulgaria: The (In)Visible Racial and Religious Motivation of Violence

March 27, 2015

By Lourdes Peroni Karaahmed v. Bulgaria, a case recently decided at Strasbourg, concerned incidents arising from a demonstration by followers of “Ataka,” a political party known for its views against Islam and its adherents. The place of the demonstration: in front of the Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia. The time: during Friday prayers. The manner: […]

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