terça-feira, 16 de dezembro de 2014

Edital para seleção de bolsistas - Projeto de Extensão "Direitos humanos e religião: em busca do respeito à diferença"

Foi publicado o edital para seleção de 10 (dez) bolsistas para o Projeto de Extensão "Direitos humanos e religião: em busca do respeito à diferença", vinculado ao Grupo de Pesquisa "Direito e Religião" (CNPq), da Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Federal de Uberlândia.

O projeto destina-se à promoção da tolerância religiosa, especialmente para fomentar uma cultura de paz, em que sejam assegurados os direitos humanos, contribuindo para o avanço da sociedade. Ao fazê-lo, busca-se ainda favorecer a interação entre estudantes, professores, pesquisadores, outros profissionais e a comunidade externa para melhor compreensão da diversidade religiosa, com vistas à plena efetivação da liberdade de crença e religião. A ação tem como público-alvo a comunidade acadêmica, profissionais de diversos setores, agentes públicos, políticos, líderes religiosos, líderes comunitários e outros interessados.

Inscrição de candidaturas: 05 a 12 de janeiro de 2015.


- Edital
- Resultado da Primeira Fase
- Resultado da Segunda Fase
- Resultado Final

quinta-feira, 4 de dezembro de 2014

School of Law Seminar Series - Oxford Brookes University

School of Law Seminar Series
Oxford Brookes University

Wednesday 10 December 2014, 12:00 until 13:00

Who this event is for:
Staff teaching / Staff research / Current students undergraduate / Current
students postgraduate taught / Current students postgraduate research

Dining Room, headington Hill Hall, Headington Campus / Headington Campus,
Headington Hill site - Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3 0BP

“Law, State and Religion in Brazil”
Mr Rodrigo Vitorino Souza Alves
Professor de Direito, Federal University of Uberlandia
Academic Visitor, University of Oxford

sexta-feira, 12 de setembro de 2014

The Natural History of Religion

Prof. Dr. Hans Joas (Universities of Freiburg and Chicago): The Science and Religion Dialogue

Source: John Templeton Foundation

sexta-feira, 5 de setembro de 2014

Hans Joas Lecture: Human Rights and Universal Values

October 26, 2009 | Can there be agreement about universal human rights? Given the diversity of religious and philosophical value traditions in today's world, is consensus possible? In his third Berkley Center lecture, Hans Joas argued that much depends on the way we talk about values with one another. We have to resist the notion that human rights controversies inevitably link to a "clash of civilizations," or that individuals and groups simply embrace and articulate the values that are right for them without reasoning or communication with others. The example of the drafting of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights illustrates the importance and possibility of productive communication about universal human rights across value traditions.

Source: Berkley Center, Georgetown University

sexta-feira, 29 de agosto de 2014

Hate Speech Beyond Borders: Nazila Ghanea at TEDxEastEnd

Nazila lectures in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford. She has been a visiting academic at a number of institutions including Columbia and NYU, and previously taught at the University of London and Keele University, UK.

Nazila's publications include nine books, four UN publications and a number of journal articles and reports.She has acted as a human rights consultant/expert for a number of governments, the UN, UNESCO, OSCE, Council of Europe and the EU. She has facilitated international human rights law training for a range of professional bodies around the world, lectured widely and carried out first hand human rights field research in a number of countries including Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

She is a regular contributor to the media on human rights matters. This coverage has included BBC World Service, The Times, Radio Free Europe, BBC Woman's Hour, The Guardian, Avvenire, The Telegraph, The National (UAE), New Statesman, Sveriges Radio and El Pais.

About TEDx In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations).

terça-feira, 26 de agosto de 2014

Religion in Public Spaces: A European Perspective (book)

Religion in Public Spaces: A European Perspective

Edited by Silvio Ferrari and Sabrina Pastorelli, both at The University of Milan, ItalySeries : Cultural Diversity and Law in Association with RELIGARE This timely volume discusses the much debated and controversial subject of the presence of religion in the public sphere. The book is divided in three sections. In the first the public/private distinction is studied mainly from a theoretical point of view, through the contributions of lawyers, philosophers and sociologists. In the following sections their proposals are tested through the analysis of two case studies, religious dress codes and places of worship. These sections include discussions on some of the most controversial recent cases from around Europe with contributions from some of the leading experts in the area of law and religion.

Covering a range of very different European countries including Turkey, the UK, Italy and Bulgaria, the book uses comparative case studies to illustrate how practice varies significantly even within Europe. It reveals how familiarization with religious and philosophical diversity in Europe should lead to the modification of legal frameworks historically designed to accommodate majority religions. This in turn should give rise to recognition of new groups and communities and eventually, a more adequate response to the plurality of religions and beliefs in European society. Contents: Religion and rethinking the public-private divide: introduction, Marie-Claire Foblets; Part I Religions and the Public/Private Divide: Public and private, a moving border: a legal-historical perspective, Kjell Å. Modeer; Socio-historical perspectives on the public and private spheres, Adam Seligmann; The 'public-private' divide on drift: what, if any, is its importance for analysing limits of associational religious freedoms?, Veit Bader; Religious freedom and the public-private divide: a broken promise in Europe?, Alessandro Ferrari; The 'public' and the 'private' in the common law and civil law traditions and the regulation of religion, Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens and Noura Karazivan; Contested normative cultures. Gendered perspectives on religions and the public/private divide, Hanne Petersen; Religion in the European public spaces: a legal overview, Silvio Ferrari. Part II Religion and the Dress Codes: From front-office to back-office: religious dress crossing the public-private divide in the workplace, Katayoun Alidadi; Religious dress codes: the Turkish case, A. Emre Öktem and Mehmet C. Uzun; Religious dress codes in the United Kingdom, Javier Garcia Oliva; Religious dress codes: the Italian case, Sabrina Pastorelli; Religious dress codes: the Bulgarian case, Maya Kosseva and Iva Kyurkchieva; Comparing burqa debates in Europe: sartorial styles, religious prescriptions and political ideologies, Sara Silvestri. Part III Religion and the Places of Worship: The right to establish and maintain places of worship: the developments of its normative content under international human rights law, Noel G. Villaroman; The places of worship in France and the public/private divide, Anne Fornerod; ‘Stopp Minarett’? The controversy over the building of minarets in Switzerland: religious freedom versus collective identity, Vincenzo Pacillo; Places of worship: between public and private: a comparison between Bulgaria, Italy and the Netherlands, Tymen J. van der Ploeg; Index.

About the Editor: Silvio Ferrari is Professor of Canon Law, University of Milan and President, International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, Italy. His research interests are in the areas of Church and State in Europe; Comparative law of religions, and Vatican-Israel relations. He has published widely on these and related areas.

Sabrina Pastorelli is research fellow at the Institute of International Law - section of Ecclesiastical and Canon Law - University of Milan, Faculty of Law. She is also a member of the Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL-CNRS/École Pratique des Hautes Études-Sorbonne) and teaching assistant at the Catholic University of Paris - Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences. Her research interests include sociology of religion; new religious movements; law and religion in Europe; religious education; regulation of religious pluralism; state public policy and religion. She is a member of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR); the Association for Sociology of Religion (ASR); the Italian Sociological Association (AIS).


sexta-feira, 22 de agosto de 2014

The Universality of Religious Freedom and its Compatibility with Non-Western Cultures

November 17, 2011 | Religious freedom has been called America's "first freedom." But does it warrant such a special status? What, if anything, distinguishes religious freedom from other protected rights like the freedom of speech or assembly? Is religious freedom a right that stands on its own, or is it a subset of a broader freedom of conscience?

How such questions are answered carries profound consequences for the treatment of religion in American public life and in American foreign policy. On Thursday, November 17, 2011, the Religious Freedom Project hosted a keynote debate at Georgetown University on the question of the uniqueness of religious freedom. Debating this critical issue were Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman and Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell.

Coinciding with the debate, the event featured two related panels to examine the meaning and reach of religious freedom. The morning panel explored the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and secular influences on religious freedom in the West. The afternoon panel addressed the universality of religious freedom and its compatibility with non-Western cultures.

Panel 2: The Universality of Religious Freedom and its Compatibility with Non-Western Cultures.

Panel Discussion with Peter Danchin, John Finnis, and Mona Siddiqui.

sexta-feira, 15 de agosto de 2014

Keynote Debate: Is Religious Freedom an Independent or Derivative Human Right? (Berkley Center)

November 17, 2011 | Religious freedom has been called America's "first freedom." But does it warrant such a special status? What, if anything, distinguishes religious freedom from other protected rights like the freedom of speech or assembly? Is religious freedom a right that stands on its own, or is it a subset of a broader freedom of conscience?

How such questions are answered carries profound consequences for the treatment of religion in American public life and in American foreign policy. On Thursday, November 17, 2011, the Religious Freedom Project hosted a keynote debate at Georgetown University on the question of the uniqueness of religious freedom. Debating this critical issue were Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman and Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell.

Noah Feldman is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He specializes in constitutional studies, with an emphasis on the relationship between law and religion, constitutional design, and the history of legal theory. Feldman is the author of three books: Divided By God: America's Church-State Problem and What We Should Do About It (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005); What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building (Princeton University Press, 2004); and After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003). Feldman has also been on faculty at the New York University School of Law. In 2003, he served as a senior constitutional advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on the drafting of the Transitional Administrative Law. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. Feldman holds degrees from Harvard University, Oxford and Yale Law School.

Michael McConnell is Richard and Frances Mallery Professor of Law at Stanford University Law School. Educated at Michigan State University (BA '76) and the University of Chicago Law School (JD '79), he is an accomplished litigator, judge and professor of law. He has argued a dozen cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, served as a federal appellate judge for the Tenth Circuit and taught law at the University of Utah, the University of Chicago, Harvard and Stanford. Now retired from the bench, he is a professor at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. His particular areas of interest and expertise in Constitutional law include freedom of speech and religion, the relationship between individuals and government, and originalism.

quinta-feira, 3 de julho de 2014

Caso S.A.S. v. França (Processo n. 43835/11) Julgamento pelo Tribunal Pleno - CEDH

Em primeiro de julho de 2014, o Tribunal Europeu dos Direitos Humanos, reunido em sessão plenária, proferiu a sentença no caso do SAS v França.

O caso teve origem em uma demanda contra a República Francesa apresentada ao Tribunal nos termos do artigo 34 da Convenção para a Protecção dos Direitos Humanos e das Liberdades Fundamentais, por uma nacional francesa, em 11 de abril de 2011.

A Requerente se queixou de que a proibição do uso de roupas que cobrem o rosto em lugares públicos, introduzida pela Lei n. 2010-1192, de 11 de outubro de 2010, privou-a da possibilidade de usar o véu islâmico em público. Ela alegou que houve uma violação dos artigos 3, 8, 9, 10 e 11 da Convenção, tomados separadamente e em conjunto com o artigo 14 da Convenção.

O Tribunal decidiu, por quinze votos a dois, que não houve violação dos artigos 8 e 9 da Convenção Europeia de Direitos Humanos, e manteve, por unanimidade, que não houve violação do artigo 14 e que nenhuma questão separada decorre o artigo 10 da Convenção, considerados isoladamente ou em conjunto com o artigo 14 da Convenção.

Para ler o Julgamento e o Voto Dissidente, clique aqui.

CASE OF S.A.S. v. FRANCE (Application no. 43835/11) Grand Chamber Judgement

In 1 July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Grand Chamber, delivered the judgment in the case of S.A.S. v. France.

The case originated in an application against the French Republic lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by a French national, on 11 April 2011.

The applicant complained that the ban on wearing clothing designed to conceal one’s face in public places, introduced by Law no. 2010-1192 of 11 October 2010, deprived her of the possibility of wearing the full-face veil in public. She alleged that there had been a violation of Articles 3, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Convention, taken separately and together with Article 14 of the Convention.

The Court held, by fifteen votes to two, that there has been no violation of Articles 8 and 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, and held, unanimously, that there has been no violation of Article 14 and that no separate issue arises under Article 10 of the Convention, taken separately or together with Article 14 of the Convention.

To read the Judgement and the Dissenting Opinion, click here.

terça-feira, 18 de março de 2014

Tunísia aprova Constituição com liberdade religiosa e direito das mulheres


Publicado: 27/01/14 - 16h40

Atualizado: 27/01/14 - 17h38

TUNIS - Os tunisianos aprovaram nesta segunda-feira uma nova Constituição, a primeira após décadas de ditadura e de dois anos de intensas discussões...

quinta-feira, 27 de fevereiro de 2014



"Guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities"

26 and 27 November 2013
Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva


Ms Hedina Sijerčić

Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 19/23 of 23 March 2012, the Forum on Minority Issues continues to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as thematic contributions and expertise to the work of the Independent Expert on minority issues. The Forum identifies and analyzes best practices, challenges, opportunities and initiatives for the further implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (hereinafter referred to as “the Declaration”). 

The Forum meets annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions. The Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms. Rita Izsák, is responsible for guiding the work of the Forum, preparing its annual meetings and reporting on its thematic recommendations to the Human Rights Council. 

The sixth session of the Forum took place on 26 and 27 November 2013 in Room XX of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Ms. Hedina Sijerčić was appointed as Chair of the sixth session of the Forum that focussed on "Guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities".

Over 500 participants took part in this sixth session of the Forum, including United Nations Member States and specialized agencies, intergovernmental and regional organizations, human rights treaty bodies, national human rights institutions, academics and experts as well as civil society actors working on minority issues . In addition to this wide range of stakeholders, this session brought together persons belonging to religious minorities who are actively engaged in minority rights advocacy and diverse areas of work related to the protection and promotion of the rights of religious minorities. 

A note by the Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms Rita Izsák, on guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities and a set of draft recommendations was made available to all Forum participants in advance of the Forum, and formed the basis for the discussions . 

Format of the Forum 

The Forum followed the procedure that has been developed over its previous sessions. To help focus the discussions and ensure that they would be highly inter-active, each agenda item was introduced by a few pre-determined presentations before the Forum would hear interventions from other participants, based on a sign-up sheet.

Outcome documents

The present document is prepared in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 19/23 which requests the Chair to prepare “a summary of the discussion of the Forum, to be made available to all participants of the Forum”. This summary is to be complemented by the outcome document containing the recommendations of the Forum that will be presented by the Independent Expert on minority issues to the Human Rights Council at its 25th Regular Session in March 2014. 

This summary does not provide the full details of all presentations that were made during the Forum’s proceedings. The consolidated list of speakers and, where available, the full text of their presentations can be found on the Forum’s website at the following address: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Minority/Pages/Session6.aspx.

Item I. Opening meeting

The Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ambassador Ms Iruthisham Adam, welcomed all participants on behalf of the President of the Council. She emphasized the high relevance of the issues discussed during this session of the Forum to the work of the Council, referring to different resolutions to this effect, including resolution 22/20 of March 2013 renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and recent resolutions on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief”. She indicated that the Human Rights Council was looking forward to the recommendations of this session to be presented by the Independent Expert on minority issues at its 25th session in March 2014. 

The Chief of the OHCHR Special Procedures Branch, Ms Jane Connors, welcomed all participants on behalf of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She stressed that this Forum had contributed to greatly expanding the knowledge and understanding of the UN human rights system about the challenges facing minorities. She pointed to the key role played by UN mandate holders such as the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and the Independent Expert on minority issues who are at the forefront of efforts to promote and protect the rights of religious minorities. Referring to the important work conducted within the UN system in this regard, she gave as a positive example OHCHR’s involvement in the consultative process that resulted in the Rabat Plan of Action. She stressed that it is through sustained engagement with national authorities that international standards and recommendations from human rights mechanisms such as this Forum can best be implemented. 

The Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms Rita Izsák, reminded all participants that the rights and security of religious minorities was among her thematic priorities as addressed for example in her recent report to the General Assembly in which she advocated for a minority rights-based approach to the protection of religious minorities. She indicated that protection and promotion of the full range of minority rights, together with initiatives to foster dialogue between faith groups, helps to build a culture of understanding, acceptance and trust across faiths and to prevent tensions from emerging and deteriorating into violence and conflict. She then focused on two areas that required particular attention during the Forum: the rising tide of violent attacks against religious minorities and the need for dialogue and inter-faith exchanges. 

The Chair of the sixth session of the Forum on Minority Issues, Ms Hedina Sijerčić stressed that her personal background living in different countries had led her to experience first-hand the multiple forms of discrimination faced by women belonging to minorities. She underlined that, regrettably, cultural differences, including religious and linguistic differences, can still serve to segregate people including youth and educational institutions. For this Forum and its recommendations to have an impact on the ground and in the lives of persons belonging to minorities, she stressed that it is not only crucial to ensure the active participation of minority representatives from all regions and backgrounds in its sessions but also for the diversity of opinions and of situations within all groups to be heard and reflected in the recommendations. The Chair explained the format of the discussions and encouraged all participants to show respect for others’ views while inviting them to exercise decorum. 

The United Nations Special Adviser on the prevention of Genocide, Mr Adama Dieng focused his remarks on the link between the prevention of atrocity crimes and the protection of religious rights for minorities, specifically highlighting how the concept of the responsibility to protect applies and enhances the protection of minorities. Following a short overview of applicable standards, including the Declaration, he underlined the connection between the protection of minority rights and the prevention of conflicts. He however mentioned that atrocity crimes can also happen in a non-conflict situation especially where minorities are persecuted on religious or ethnic grounds. He emphasized the role of minority rights’ protection and dedicated minority rights mechanisms in promoting social stability and cohesion. In this regard, he underlined that, while States bear the primary responsibility for the protection of minorities within their territory, other actors, including the civil society, community and religious leaders as well as the media, also have a shared responsibility in this regard.  

Item II. Legal framework and key concepts

This session provided an overview of existing international and regional standards and principles relating to the rights of religious minorities, including the Declaration. Applicable standards and principles providing for the right to freedom of religion or belief were addressed. Participants further discussed how to ensure that international standards relating to the protection of the rights of religious minorities are reflected in national legislation, policies and practices.

Ms Nazila Ghanea, presented on “Religious minorities and the question of responsibilities indicating that the rights of religious minorities were initially primarily upheld through multilateral and bilateral treaties and it was only in 1945 that the UN was formed and the UN Charter adopted international human rights as one of its very objectives. She stated that, though religious minorities found specific mention in article 27 of the ICCPR and the Declaration, their rights were never fully incorporated within the minority rights mechanisms until recently as they had been dealt with under freedom of religion or belief standards. She stressed that persons belonging to religious minorities should not only fully enjoy freedom of religion or belief but also have full access to all human rights including minority rights. She expressed the hope that the Forum would go beyond the ‘victimhood’ of religious minorities and recognize their power to stand up for their own rights and the rights of others but also to use all their resources to contribute to wider society. 

Mr Brian J. Grim, presenting on “The Connection between Government Policies and Social Hostilities toward Minorities. He stated that a rising tide of restrictions on religion has swept the globe in the past years and demonstrated this by different facts and figures. For example, he indicated that 40 per cent of countries today have high or very high restrictions on religion coming from Governments or from the actions of groups in society. The brunt of these restrictions is felt most keenly by religious minorities. In particular, 53% of countries in the world today have Governments that have either displayed violence toward religious minority groups or did not intervene in cases of discrimination or abuses to religious minorities. He highlighted several significant patterns in these data including the fact that when Governments have high overall restrictions on religious freedom, minority groups face even more restrictions. He further demonstrated how all religions face these problems although there are patterns faced by different religions. He also stressed that the abuse of religious minorities happens in every region of the world. On the positive side, he indicated that according to data, when religious freedom is guaranteed and restrictions are low religious minorities fare much better, and that there are many social benefits and higher economic and intellectual innovation in countries characterised by high religious freedom. 

Mr Rodrigo Vitorino Souza Alves, presented on “The protection of religious minorities in the United Nations and Organization of American States’ systems. He first underlined that the United Nations took a major step with the adoption of the Declaration on Minority Rights, giving a brief overview of the principles enshrined therein and related obligations for States. He then referred to the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance adopted by the Organization of American States in June 2013. This Convention emphasizes that equality, non-discrimination and separation between State laws and religious norms are fundamental for the peaceful coexistence in pluralistic and democratic societies, and that societies must respect the identity of every person, while creating the conditions that will enable its expression, preservation and development. He highlighted that the Declaration combined with the Anti-Discrimination Convention, once in force, will constitute instruments of counter-majoritarian protection that should inspire and contribute to the development of other regional and national instruments. Secondly, they are transformative instruments, not only of majoritarian groups, but also of minorities, since every person is entitled to, as well as constrained by, universal human rights.

Mr Mohamed Eltayeb, presented on “Towards a Framework for Guaranteeing the Rights of Religious Minorities: a Quest for Combating Religious Hatred. He underlined that most of the countries in the world today are characterised by an increasing national, racial and religious diversity as well as increasingly multicultural societies, hence the importance of developing an effective framework for granting and protecting the rights of religious minorities. Such a framework requires two main aspects: the normative and institutional resources and then the legal, political, social and cultural frameworks in which the normative content should be applied. Three situations should however be distinguished: first is where there is both a strong normative and institutional basis for granting the rights of religious minorities but without success, second is where there are both weak normative and institutional systems and the third situation is where there are strong normative and institutional resources that lead to effectively protecting the rights of minorities. He stressed that the normative and institutional resources can be found in international and regional human rights instruments, the most remarkable one in this respect being the Declaration. 


The following issues were raised during the discussion under Item II: 
- The significant number of recommendations regarding the rights of religious minorities in the second cycle of the UPR so far; 
- The fact that States bear the primary responsibility for setting up a national legal framework in compliance with international human rights standards and the importance of cooperation and sharing of good practices in this regard;
- Religious freedom is a universal human right that all States have responsibility to uphold;
- The importance of recognising the diversity that exists within religious minority groups and the need to take a gender perspective into account in this context; 
- The importance of respecting the principle of self-identification of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities;
- The need for States to revoke existing blasphemy and anti-incitement laws because they exacerbate intolerance and provide Governments with the means of suppressing the freedoms of religion and expression; 
- The importance of the right to acquire citizenship;
- The right to privacy and freedom of association as vital to religious minorities and the right to conversion as an integral part of freedom of religion or belief;
- The importance of addressing the particular needs of religious minority women;
- The important report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to the General Assembly underlining the positive inter-relatedness of freedom of religion or belief and gender equality;
- How rule of law strategies can be used to promote and protect the right to freedom or religion or belief;
- The Declaration on Minority Rights as a key reference text on the rights of persons belonging to minorities at the global level;
- The recent adoption by the EU Foreign Affairs Council of the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief; 
- The three mechanisms of the Council of Europe i.e. the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities and freedom of religion (FCNM) and the ECRML as potentially useful support in the protection of religious minorities; 
- The importance for countries to enshrine the protection of religious minorities within their constitutions; 
- The importance of education and awareness-raising; and the need to revise schoolbooks to reinforce understanding and respect for the different religions and enhance interest in other people’s beliefs; 
- The fact that religious affiliations in national identity card should be abolished; 
- The significant role that can be played by different actors, such as religious leaders, in promoting the rights of minorities, especially in cases where leaders from the majority faith speak out on behalf of religious minorities in a given country; 
- The importance of anti-discrimination legislation at both domestic and international levels;
- The particular challenges facing religious minorities in post-conflict situations and the need to implement affirmative measures to protect their rights in such contexts;
- The importance for countries to conduct census to determine the status of their population, including a comprehensive picture of the social and living conditions of all groups.

Item III. Protection of the existence of and prevention of violence against religious minorities

This session aimed to identify the measures taken by States and other actors to prevent tensions and acts of aggression or violence against religious minorities, their places of worship and assembly. The situation of religious minorities in conflict and post-conflict settings, and the role of all actors involved in ensuring protection of religious minorities and accountability for violations of their rights were considered. The positive role that religious leaders can play in addressing violations of the rights of religious minorities, preventing further violence and promoting peace and reconciliation, was further examined.

Mr Majed El Shafie, presented on “Protecting religious minorities: A human imperative, first referring to his personal experience as being relevant to the subject. He indicated that the vast majority of challenges faced by religious minorities fall into three categories: first the threats from secular authoritarian regimes, which monitor, regulate, and control religious practice and expression within their boundaries and suppress any unauthorized practice, second, cases of religious dominance that may involve a state favouring a majority religion while discriminating against minority religions, and the third category often but not necessarily linked to the second, namely the treatment of religious minorities in conflict or post-conflict situations. Rev. El Shafie encouraged States that have aid and trade ties with States where minorities face threats to connect their aid to measurable improvements in this regard. He further stressed the need to recognize the special needs of converts and called on the Forum to recommend that States pay particular attention to supporting members of religious minorities who are fleeing from conflict zones.

Ms Salpy Eskidjian, presented on "Inter-Religious dialogue and the Cyprus Peace Process". She explained how key actors including religious leaders began the process of inter-religious communication for human rights and peace in Cyprus although no one initially believed that religion could play such a positive role in the process. The purpose of the Religious Track has been to build relationship, understanding and trust between the religious leaders and ultimately members of the respective faith communities. Through the Religious Track the religious leaders are trying to ensure that the main concerns of the religious communities are understood and considered in the peace process and formal negotiations as a result of which, there is now inter-religious communication in Cyprus. The Religious Track has proved that when there is an improved climate of inter-religious dialogue, then trust can be built and significant progress can be made. It has proven that religious leaders in a conflict situation can play a positive role in addressing violations of human rights, promoting peace and reconciliation. 

Ms Diane Ala’I presented on “Involvement, inclusion, expression and protection. She underlined that by creating a space where religious minorities are able to inform others of the tenets of their beliefs, States can contribute to the dispelling of misconceptions and prejudices. She stressed that attacks and violence are often based on suspicion, ignorance and presumptions. Majorities can also have little interest in learning more—which can be fostered by religious leaders as well as politicians, often because they believe these religions and beliefs are threats. She highlighted that by actively contributing to the betterment of society, shoulder to shoulder with other compatriots, members of religious minorities can create confidence-building situations. Moreover, by allowing freedom of expression, the State will provide an environment where healthy debates regarding different beliefs will improve the level of awareness and be conducive to a heightened social tolerance, thus safeguarding minorities from attacks and persecution. 


The following issues were raised during the discussion under Item III: 
- The important role played by freedom of religion or belief in not only resolving conflict but also in preventing them;
- Prevention as being key in order to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for religious minorities;
- The need for all cases of harassment, intimidation and persecution of religious minorities should to be thoroughly and immediately investigated and punished;
- States should take measures to encourage knowledge of the belief, history, traditions and cultures of the religious minorities within their territory; 
- Education and dialogue as some of the most effective tools to help prevent sectarian violence and foster religious tolerance and understanding;
- Different ways by which States can prevent hate crimes and the fact that dissuasive penalties should be in place to prevent incitement to violence or hatred; 
- The importance of citizenship rights and their implications on many other rights for religious minorities; 
- The importance of a strong constitution providing for the rights of religious minorities;
- Recognition of dignity of every person and of their equal rights as any other citizen to participate in all spheres of life and then implementation of practical steps through education, dialogue and solidarity making coexistence possible; 
- The important role played by human rights defenders in raising awareness and protecting religious minorities; 
- The need for religious minorities to be able to appoint their own religious leaders, rather than those appointed by the State, to help foster confidence in inter-faith dialogue;
- The lack of recognition of religious minorities as full contributing elements to societies as a root of the problems that they face; 
- The importance to ensure that legislation and policies, including anti-terrorism laws, do not arbitrarily target specific religious minorities; 
- The key role played by United Nations early warning mechanisms such as the Special Adviser for the prevention of Genocide and the importance for States to collaborate with such mechanisms;
- The importance of implementing the Declaration and other relevant standards and principles for the rights of religious minorities to be protected in practice; 
- Issues surrounding conscientious objectors;
- The need to review and amend personal laws to bring them in line with international standards; 
- The need to protect places of worship, including in conflict situations;
- The importance of the principle of self-identification for all religious minorities; 
- The situation of minorities within minority groups; 
- The importance of the legal framework, including of a strong Constitution providing for the legal basis for promoting and protecting the fundamental human rights and freedoms, including minority rights.

Item IV. Promotion and protection of the identity of religious minorities

This session was devoted to the identification of effective practices to ensure the protection and promotion of the identity of religious minorities so that they can freely maintain and develop their religious and cultural practices and traditions. The discussion looked into opportunities to protect religious minorities through the promotion and protection of their culture and language, including by taking measures in the field of education. The session also considered the specific challenges that women belonging to religious minorities may face, both within and outside of their religious communities.

Prof Heiner Bielefeldt, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, presented on “The rights of religious minorities. He stressed the need for cooperation between all stakeholders underlining that, while a multilevel approach must be taken, the most significant changes are brought by persons who are on the ground. Prof Bielefeldt also recalled the fact that discrimination against minorities would undermine treatment against majorities. He mentioned that he had been edified by the example given in Sierra Leone, a country that overcame a brutal civil war through an intense intra and inter religious dialogue. He also described the case of Cyprus as a model that shows the possibility to build trust although this implies a long investment. Prof Bielefeldt finally highlighted that minority rights should not be considered as privileges; they are human rights, and they are based on the idea of their universality.

Mr Sergine Mansour Sy Djamil, Vice-President of the National Assembly of Senegal, presented on “The rights of non-Muslims in Islam. His presentation aimed at underlining the importance of Islam teachings in order for citizens to know how it advocates for the rights of non-Muslims. He also denounced some examples of what he considered as laws against the right of freedom of religion or belief, especially in Europe. He stressed the important role of the Islamic Development Bank in granting subventions to Muslim minorities living in non-Muslim countries. Mr Sy Djamil finally outlined the example of Senegal as a country where, notwithstanding the fact that 96 per cent of the population is Muslim, it has been led by a Christian president. 

Mr Maung Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, presented on “The situation of the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority in Myanmar. Mr Tun Khin denounced some human rights abuses from which this group suffers, including in relation to the right to marry and freedom of movement. Moreover, he indicated that human rights activists have been harassed and arrested, while cases of incitement to hatred and violence against the Rohingya were allowed to continue with impunity. He recommended that an independent international investigation is set up to establish the truth and prevent further attacks. In his opinion, an increase in international observers on the ground could help in preventing further attacks and improving the security situation. In addition, he pointed out that, although aid access has improved, there is still not enough aid reaching the people internally displaced by violence. 

Ms Leila El Ali, presented on “Challenges encountering women belonging to minorities, women’s rights and cultural relativism. She stated that, in the Middle East, the conflict against minorities has recently become more acute. This conflict is closely linked, in one way or another, with international and regional conflicts within the Region and their influences on the Arab revolutions and transitions. The rights of minorities and marginalised groups are being, in her view, disregarded. In this sense, religion or belief would be one of the components of the culture, albeit not the only one. However, it constitutes a key element in what refers to minority self-defence. These groups therefore need laws to protect their religion and other specific features. Ms El Ali gave several examples regarding Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Libya, and warned that women are in many situations the most vulnerably persons. She suggested strengthening separation between State and religion as well as equality rights between men and women.  


The following issues were raised during the first segment of the discussion under Item IV: 
- The practice and maintaining of a religion are closely connected with the maintaining of other aspects of culture and traditions;
- The link between discrimination on ethnicity, religion and languages and extreme poverty; the repercussions of such discrimination on land ownership for religious minorities;
- The possibility for some State laws regulating freedom of religion to have a discriminatory and negative impact on religious minorities; 
- Tolerance as a key element within minorities’ rights and its promotion by the States;
- The effectiveness of existing protection mechanisms needs to be reassessed and enhanced where necessary;
- The fact that religious minorities often belong to different national, ethnic or linguistic groups, and that the protection of their religious freedom should be viewed in the broader context of implementation of the full range of minority rights;  
- The positive roles that can be played by religious communities in education and social integration;
- The fact that organizational and financial capabilities of religious groups should be taken into consideration in the Recommendations to ensure appropriate support for them;
- The need to pay special attention to the situation of women belonging to religious minorities as well as to their right to access to education; 
- The need for States to take measures to eliminate discriminatory policies;
- The fact that persecution of certain minority groups can lead them to migrate and seek asylum elsewhere.  

Item V. Promotion of constructive interfaith dialogue, consultation and exchange

This session discussed the role that key actors, including religious minorities, religious and community leaders, as well as political actors, can play in the promotion and protection of the rights and security of religious minorities and in promoting tolerance and harmonious relations between faith groups. The role that women can play in fostering intercommunity tolerance and dialogue and promoting the rights of religious minorities was also discussed. Participants identified positive examples of interfaith dialogue and exchange and assessed how existing mechanisms, institutions and processes have been established and work in practice.

Mr José Riera presented on “UNHCR’s engagement with faith-based organisations, faith leaders and communities of faith. He gave a brief overview of the Dialogue on Faith on Protection hosted in 2012 by the UNHCR, which was in turn inspired by other UN agencies. Through that dialogue, it was possible to verify that all faith communities share core values which contribute to strengthen the protection of refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and stateless persons. Moreover, the dialogue was useful to identify examples of good practices of the work of faith-based organisations as well as local faith communities. The second work stream developed specific guidance for faith leaders, encouraging them to welcome migrants and other groups and stand together against intolerance, exclusion and xenophobia. Lastly, UNHCR was seeking guidance on the multiple dimensions of faith in the context of displacement and the way to deal with, reach out to and partner with religious organisation. 

Rev Usman Fornah presented on the “Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone. He stated that, whereas some religious groups enjoy peaceful co-existence and even collaborate with each other, some others are hostile to this practice. In Sierra Leone, there are two main religions, Christianity and Islam, but African Traditional Religion also serves as the religious basis of the cultures. Religious practices and beliefs are therefore diverse. Some cannot tolerate relationship with people of other religions; others encourage constructive dialogue, consultation and exchange on issues related to socio-political affairs, religious practices and economic life. This exchange is necessary for a peaceful religious co-existence. Thus, the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone was founded to promote peaceful coexistence and collaboration amongst the various religions. This particular form of interfaith collaboration was a novelty in many parts of Africa. 

Ms Carmen Asiaín presented on “Freedom of conscience and religion as a uniting factor in interfaith dialogues. She talked about a recent experience she has had in Latin American countries with regard to interfaith dialogue during which representatives of all religions – majorities and minorities – had gathered to defend freedom of conscience and, specifically, conscientious objection. She gave some examples in which conscientious objection was denied, such as a Catholic hospital compelled to perform some practices opposed to its basic principles. In Latin America, the current concerns with religious groups do not lie in religious persecution, but in issues related to freedom of conscience, she stated. Parliaments have endorsed several laws – especially some bills including sensitive bioethical contents – without balancing the interests of minority groups. She stressed that majority lawmaker groups should take into account the interests of minority groups as a requirement of democracy. 

Mr Louis Climis presented on “Minorities in Iraq, victims of religious, sectarian and ethnic conflicts first stating that minorities must benefit from all forms of rights. He indicated that minorities in Iraq suffer due to the mere fact that they are minorities and that some policies might disproportionately affect them. Contrary to the image of a pluralist and multicultural Iraq, Christians are the prime targeted group for discrimination, he stated. He however underlined that civil society organisations are attempting to disseminate a culture of peace and harmony. He also stressed that restrictions have been introduced in the Civil Code. He stressed the need for the Iraqi Constitution to be amended to ensure minority rights. 


The following issues were raised during the discussion under Item V: 
- The processes of building inclusive societies and enhancing the rights of religious minorities must be inclusive;
- The importance of the right to effective political participation for religious minorities;
- Different measures taken by States aimed at promoting inter-faith dialogues in their countries;
- Examples of best practices that can be useful in considering the rights of religious minorities;
- The need for States to take measures to address extremism and disseminate tolerance and moderation;
- The direct link between respect for the rights of religious minorities and the protection of their freedom of expression and freedom of religion;
- The need to protect religious sites; 
- The fact that leader’s attitude can obviously help, but it cannot replace the community itself;  
- The need for key stakeholders, State and non-State actors, to build an interfaith dialogue based on equality and equity and to strive to create an environment for the enjoyment by all persons of freedom of religion or belief
- The secularity of the State does not imply that there shall not be collaboration among the State and religious groups;
- The need for timely compensation to be provided in case of damages against a religious minority group;  
- The need to use religion to unite and not to divide;  
- There are several conceptions of religion, which may create tensions that need to be managed, including through addressing misconceptions and misunderstandings;
- The essential role of religious and political leaders in promoting interreligious dialogue, including at the grassroots level.

Mr Ralston Deffenbaugh provided some concluding remarks, first stating that the General Assembly recognises the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions and encourages the spread of the messages of interfaith harmony and good will. He stressed that one of the most important ways to engage in interfaith dialogue is in practice; and that religion can be a force for peace. Protecting freedom of religion is a way to achieving peace; therefore, respecting the rights of religious minorities gives the space to those minorities and contributes to the fact that they can express themselves by loving their God and their neighbours. In this way, interfaith dialogue supports peace-building work.   

Ms Hedina Sijerčić, Chairperson of the sixth session of the Forum on Minority Issues, thanked all participants for their engagement and valuable contributions, including comments on the draft recommendations. She underlined that the protection of religious minorities would also enhance the conditions of those linguistic and ethnic minorities. She welcomed the many examples of good practices that were shared by Forum participants in such areas as legislation, institutional attention to minority issues, projects targeted to address the problems facing religious minorities or key concerns, as well as local level initiatives. Ms Sijerčić finally reminded that all the relevant recommendations would be reflected in a document to be presented to the 25th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2014.    

Ms Rita Izsák, the United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues, first congratulated the Chair for her work performed then thanked Mr Adama Dieng, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and Prof. Heiner Bielefeldt, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. Ms Izsák expressed the wish to enhance the cooperation between these different United Nations mandates. Welcoming the active and positive participation of all stakeholders to this session, she emphasised that there had been a strong message about the need for dialogue and to build bridges of understanding, acceptance and trust. She also stressed the need for better implementation of the Declaration on Minority Rights to guarantee the rights of religious minorities. She highlighted the fact that this Forum and its recommendations only fulfil their potential when they are translated into action on the ground. 


quinta-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2014

LARSN Conference - Monday 12th May 2014

Law and Religion Scholars Network Conference 2014

The next LARSN conference will be held at the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff Law School, Museum Ave, Cardiff, CF10 3AX. Please see below some answers to frequently asked questions.

Q: When will the call for ‘papers’ be issued?
A: Early February 2014.  Please note that speakers at LARSN give presentations and there is scope for questions and answers afterwards.  As stated below, written papers are not required and the conference proceedings are not published.

Q: What is the deadline for submission of presentations?
A: 31st March 2014

Q: What is required for the submission of presentations?
A: A title and abstract of no more than 300 words.  We do not require a full text.

Q: What is the deadline for registration?
A: May 1st 2014

Q: Can I attend without giving a presentation?
A: Yes, attendees who are not presenting are very welcome.

Q: Is there a registration fee?
A: Yes, there is a conference fee of £20 This applies equally to speakers and attendees.

Q: What topics are appropriate for presentations?
A: Any subject relevant to the field of Law and Religion will be considered.

Q: Is there a minimum qualification for speakers?
A: It is an ‘open’ conference and all submissions will be welcomed and considered for inclusion.

Q: Are written papers required and are the proceedings published?
A: No, a full written text of presentation material is not required and conference proceedings will not be published. 

Q: How long should my presentation be?
A: Speakers will each have 15 minutes for presentations, followed by 5 minutes for questions and answers.

Q: Can/should I use Powerpoint?
A: Speakers are very welcome to use Powerpoint in their presentations, but it is by no means expected or compulsory. All speakers wishing to use Powerpoint must submit it by email by May 1st 2014.  Regrettably, we will not be able to accept Powerpoint presentations after this date. Neither electronic presentations in other formats e.g. Prezie.

Q: At what time will the conference start and end?
A: Registration will be at 10am and the final panel of presentations will end at 5pm.

Q: Where is the Law School?
A: A map and directions can be found on the Cardiff University website http://www.law.cf.ac.uk/aboutus/location.html

Q: Are refreshments provided?
A: Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided in the morning and afternoon and there will be a sandwich lunch.  There will of course be an opportunity to advise us of any special dietary requirements when registering.

Q: Can you provide any information about places to stay overnight in Cardiff?
A: Some helpful information can be found at www.visitcardiff.com

Law and Religion Teaching and Research Conference - Tuesday 13th May 2014

This will take place the day following LARSN conference and will also be held at the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff Law School, Museum Ave, Cardiff, CF10 3AX.

The conference will be thematic and consist of three panels of presentations from specialist invited speakers.  The topics for the panels will be: The Teaching of Law and Religion; Law and Religion and Family Law and Individual and Collective Rights. After each presentation attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and participate in the discussion.  A full programme for the conference will appear on the website in the coming weeks.

The conference opens at 9am and will finish with some closing remarks at 3pm.  There will be a fee of £15 for attendees.

About LARSN: Controversies surrounding the wearing of Islamic dress, Catholic adoption agencies, and the status of Sharia law underscore the growing topicality and importance of law and religion. It is not surprising therefore that the last twenty years has seen the gradual development of law and religion as an area of academic study. The Law and Religion Scholars Network (LARSN) is designed to bring together for the first time academics who are interested in all areas of law and religion: national and international law affecting religion and religious law. The Network, an initiative of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff Law School, allows those interested in the field to share experiences and ideas, to build links in relation to both research and teaching and to reflect upon how law and religion can be promoted as a mainstream legal discipline.

Source: http://www.law.cf.ac.uk/clr/networks/lrsn3.html.

segunda-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2014

Religion and Law in Spain

Religion and Law in Spain
by: Javier Martínez-Torrón

Description: Derived from the renowned multi-volume International Encyclopaedia of Laws, this convenient resource provides systematic information on how Spain deals with the role religion plays or can play in society, the legal status of religious communities and institutions, and the legal interaction among religion, culture, education, and media. After a general introduction describing the social and historical background, the book goes on to explain the legal framework in which religion is approached. Coverage proceeds from the principle of religious freedom through the rights and contractual obligations of religious communities; international, transnational, and regional law effects; and the legal parameters affecting the influence of religion in politics and public life. Also covered are legal positions on religion in such specific fields as church financing, labour and employment, and matrimonial and family law. A clear and comprehensive overview of relevant legislation and legal doctrine make the book an invaluable reference source and very useful guide. Succinct and practical, this book will prove to be of great value to practitioners in the myriad instances where a law-related religious interest arises in Spain. Academics and researchers will appreciate its value as a thorough but concise treatment of the legal aspects of diversity and multiculturalism in which religion plays such an important part.

Table of contents:
The Author.
List of Abbreviations.
General Introduction.
Part I. Legal Framework and Sources.
Chapter 1. Constitutional Position of Religion.
Chapter 2. Other Legislation with Regard to Religion.
Chapter 3. Typology of the System.
Part II. Religious Freedom in General.
Chapter 1. Individual Religious Freedom.
Chapter 2. Freedom of Conscience and Legal Obligations: Conscientious Objections.
Chapter 3. Collective Religious Freedom.
Chapter 4. Organizational Religious Freedom.
Part III. Legal Status of Religious Communities.
Chapter 1. Formal Status of Religious Communities.
Chapter 2. Autonomy of Religious Communities.
Chapter 3. Places of Worship and Meeting.
Chapter 4. Fundamental Rights and Religious Communities.
Chapter 5. Contractual Religious Freedom.
Chapter 6. Religious Assistance in Public Institutions.
Part IV. International, Transnational, Regional Effects on Religious Communities.
Chapter 1. International Law Effects on Religious Communities.
Chapter 2. Transnational Law Effects on Religious Communities.
Chapter 3. Regional Law Effects on Religious Communities.
Part V. Religion and Politics.
Chapter 1. Religion Influence in Politics.
Chapter 2. Political Influence in Religion.
Chapter 3. Interaction between Religion and State on a Political and Legal Level.
Part VI. Labour Law within Religious Communities.
Chapter 1. Scope of Application of Labour Law.
Chapter 2. Religious Ministers and Labour Law.
Chapter 3. Other Church Employees and Labour Law.
Part VII. Religious Communities and Protections of the Individual.
Chapter 1. Protection of Privacy.
Chapter 2. Freedom to Marry.
Chapter 3. Freedom of Expression.
Chapter 4. Due Process Norms and Religious Groups.
Chapter 5. Professional Secrecy.

The author: Professor of Law (Catedrático), Complutense University, Madrid (Spain) since 2000, and Director of the Department of Law and Religion of Complutense University (since 2009). Doctor utroque iure (of Law and of Canon Law). He obtained his first chair at the University of Granada, in 1993, where he was Director of the Area of Law and Religion (1993-2000). Founder and Director of the Seminar of Comparative Law of the University of Granada (1997-2000). Visiting professor and researcher in numerous Universities of Spain, Europe, North-America, and Latin-America (among them Cambridge, Chicago, Columbia, Berkeley, Harvard, Ottawa, Freiburg (Germany) and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México - UNAM). He is also, since 2001, part-time Professor at Saint Louis University Law School (Comparative Law, Summer Law Courses).

Year: 2014.

Publisher: Kluwer Law International