Manual on the wearing of religious symbols in public areas - by Malcolm David Evans, Anne Weber, Council of Europe

By Malcolm David Evans, Anne Weber, Council of Europe

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Extra resources for Manual on the wearing of religious symbols in public areas - Manuel sur le discours de haine

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At the time of writing, 17 of the 47 Member states of the Council of Europe have ratified the Protocol and so are bound by it, these being: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Georgia, Luxembourg, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Spain, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Ukraine. A further 20 states have signed but have yet to ratify the Protocol. Article 1 of the Protocol provides that: ‘1. The enjoyment of any right set forth by law shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

A) ECHR Article 14 The first of these strands is Article 14 of the Convention which provides that: ‘The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status’. As is well known, Article 14 ‘has no independent existence’ and has effect ‘solely in relation to the “enjoyment of the rights and freedoms” safeguarded by these provisions’.

35 However, it is only such convictions (or beliefs) which are religious or philosophical in nature which attract the protection of the Article. The Court has never defined the word ‘religion’, but it has fleshed out its understanding of what is meant by ‘philosophy’. In Campbell and Cosans the Court accepted that ‘the word “philosophy” bears numerous meanings: it is used to allude to a fully fledged system of thought or, rather loosely, to views on more or less trivial matters’. However, it thought that ‘neither of these two extremes can be adopted for the purposes of interpreting Article 2’ and concluded that ‘“Philosophical Convictions” in the present context denotes ...

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