Freedom of Religion

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Animal Welfare Beats Freedom of Religion

Sien Devriendt and Carla M. Zoethout have recently presented, in this blog, the ECtHR judgment of 13 February 2024 in Executief van de Moslims van België et al. v. Belgium (16760/22 et al.), welcoming the change in ethical thinking regarding animal welfare reflected in that judgment. In this post, which is based on a comment forthcoming, in German, in MenschenRechtsMagazin, I want to highlight the costs, in terms of the protection of minority rights, involved in giving animal welfare priority over freedom of religion. The legitimate aim of the impugned Flemish and Walloon decrees The judgment under review notes that the ritual slaughter of animals regulated by these decrees falls within the scope of the applicants' right to manifest their religion as a matter of "observance" within the meaning of Article 9 (§ 65). For the decrees to prohibit the slaughter of animals without prior stunning, including reversible stunning, therefore interferes with the applicants' freedom to manifest their religion (§§ 87 f.) Such interference can be justified if it pursues one…

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The UN Human Rights Committee Disagrees with the European Court of Human Rights Again: The Right to Manifest Religion by Wearing a Burqa

It is perhaps unsurprising to observers of the UN Human Rights Committee’s (HRC) jurisprudence that in the recent decisions of Yaker v France and Hebbadi v France, the HRC came to the opposite conclusion to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding the compatibility of the so-called ‘French burqa ban’ with the right to manifest religion.

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Legitimizing Blasphemy Laws Through the Backdoor: The European Court’s Judgment in E.S. v. Austria

This past weekend Irish voters decided, by an overwhelming majority, to amend the Irish Constitution so as to decriminalize blasphemy. Just a few days before this referendum, however, a unanimous Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights gave its blessing to the criminalization of blasphemy, in all but name, in its judgment in E.S. v. Austria,…

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De-humanisation? CJEU, Liga van Moskeeën en islamitische Organisaties Provincie Antwerpen on Religious Slaughter

Introduction In Case C-426/16, Liga van Moskeeën en islamitische Organisaties Provincie Antwerpen et al v. Vlaams Gewest, the Court of Justice of the European Union (Grand Chamber) in its judgment of 29th May 2018 decided that the EU law provision allowing religious slaughter without stunning the animal only in slaughterhouses (Art. 4(4) of Regulation…

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Je Suis Achbita!

Achbita, decided in March 2017 is not a run of the mill case. It raised what I think are hugely difficult conceptual legal issues. It also comes at a delicate moment in the social and political life of Europe, where the Court of Justice of the European Union is an important actor in shaping the climate and defining…

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