jeudi 5 février 2015

Dr Hassan Aydinli attended the ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities Launch Event at the EU Parliament

Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU representative,  attended the ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities Launch Event at the EU Parliament

BRUSSELS 4th February, 2015

The event was chaired by MEP Dennis de Jong, Co-President of the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance.

1.The freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right, as recognized in international instruments and OSCE commitments. International standards specify that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes the freedom to manifest one's religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, in public or in private, through worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2. The terms "religion" and "belief" are to be broadly construed. A starting point for defining the application of freedom of religion or belief must be the self-definition of religion or belief, though of course the authorities have a certain competence to apply some objective, formal criteria to determine if indeed these terms are applicable to the specific case. There is a great diversity of religions and beliefs;  The freedom of religion or belief is therefore not limited in its application to traditional religions and beliefs or to religions and beliefs with institutional characteristics or practices analogous to those traditional views.  The freedom of religion or beliefs protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.

3. The freedom of religion or belief is closely linked to other human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as, in particular, the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly and association" and the right to non-discrimination.

4. The freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of one's choice, which includes the right to change one's religion or belief, may not be subject to any limitations.

5. The freedom to manifest a religion or belief may only be limited if each of the following criteria is fulfilled:

A. The limitation is prescribed by law;
B. The limitation has the purpose of protecting public safety, (public) order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
C. The limitation is necessary for the achievement of one of these purposes and proportionhate to the intended aim; and
D. The limitation is not imposed for discriminatory purposes or applied in a discriminatory manner.

6. Limitations must not be applied in a manner that would vitiate the freedom or religion or belief. In interpreting the scope of permissible limitation clauses, states should proceed from the need to protect the rights guaranteed under international instruments.

There are three other points which I will not mention in this brief report.

ODIHR: Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
OSCE: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
ECHR: European Convention on Human Rights

About the Venice Commission:

The European Commission for Democracy through Law - better known as the Venice Commission as it meets in Venice - is the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters.

The role of the Venice Commission is to provide legal advice to its member states and, in particular, to help states wishing to bring their legal and institutional structures into line with European standards and international experience in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

It also helps to ensure the dissemination and consolidation of a common constitutional heritage, playing a unique role in conflict management, and provides emergency constitutional aid to states in transition.

The Commission has 59 member states, the 47 Council of Europe member states, plus 12 other countries (Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Mexico, Peru, Tunisia and the USA).

Excerpt from:
 'Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities' published by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. (Poland)

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