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Religious Actors and International Law$
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Ioana Cismas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712824

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712824.001.0001

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Religious Organizations Under the European Convention Regime

Religious Organizations Under the European Convention Regime

(p.85) 3 Religious Organizations Under the European Convention Regime
Religious Actors and International Law

Ioana Cismas

Oxford University Press

Religious organizations are non-state actors. Any attempt to examine their rights and obligations is confronted by challenges relating to subjectivity. The chapter relies on the capacity approach to ‘extract’ the panoply of rights which religious organizations have claimed under the European Convention on Human Rights, and to demonstrate the similarities in this respect with non-religious legal entities. Detailed assessment of article 9 jurisprudence discloses why religious organizations were initially refused the right to freedom of religion under the Convention, and why currently they are the exclusive holders of this right among legal entities. The chapter discards this exclusivity by showing that religious organizations enjoy a derivative right from the freedom of individuals to collectively manifest religious beliefs. The analysis examines positive state obligations in the context of church autonomy, and reveals the existence and scope of human rights responsibilities of religious organizations themselves, including towards employees and adherents.

Keywords:   religious organization, church, non-state actors, capacity approach, freedom of religion, church autonomy, blasphemy, limitations, obligations

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