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A ‘Precious Asset’?

Analyzing Religious Freedom Protections in Europe

In its first judgement on Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Strasbourg Court held that freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is ‘a precious asset for atheists, agnostics, sceptics and the unconcerned’. 

This book questions and elaborates on this statement, in the context of the current European legal setting. 

Part I offers a theoretical overview of why freedom of religion matters, and the European regulatory framework of this human right. 

Part II focuses on the challenges of interpreting and protecting religious freedom in the context of employment, education, media reporting, free speech, and freedom of association. Is ‘corporate neutrality’ a legitimate basis for suppressing individual manifestations of religion? Do public expressions of religious values constitute ‘hate speech’? To what extent and under what criteria can States limit the freedom of association of religious groups? Overall, is freedom of religion still indeed ‘a precious asset’ in Europe?

Adina Portaru is legal counsel for ADF International in Brussels, where she advocates for religious freedom.