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Church autonomy and parental rights challenged in the Americas

#ReligiónLibre

Topic | Parental Rights and Church Autonomy

Will the decisions of parents be respected when it comes to the religious education of their children? The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will soon answer this question for 35 American countries in the landmark case of Pavez v. Chile. The public hearing was held on 12 and 13 May.

ADF International has submitted a brief to the Court. It urges the judges of the Court to uphold this fundamental right as guaranteed by the American Convention and the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights. The brief is supported by more than 30,000 signatories from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries. This includes parents, people of faith of various denominations and other concerned citizens. They have signed to express their support for the protection of religious freedom and the rights of parents to direct the religious education of their children. 

Who:
Chilean Churches and Parents

Where:
Chile, Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Advocacy Team:
Tomás Henríquez

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"We hope that the Court will respect the fundamental nature of freedom of religion and belief. This includes the autonomy of faith communities to choose their teachers and the right of parents to have their children receive a religious education in accordance with their convictions."

Tomás Henríquez, Director of Advocacy, Latin America and the Caribbean Tweet

Case Summary

Given the international scope of the Court’s jurisdiction, this is a case of concern to millions of people in the American states. The ruling could have a significant impact for people of faith. The court will determine whether Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, evangelical or any other religious school can ensure that those appointed to teach that religion live by what they are teaching. Thus, a broad coalition of organizations and religious communities have come together to defend this fundamental right and call on the Court to uphold the State’s laws. This coalition includes the Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant communities from Chile, as well as the head of the Council of Catholic Bishops of Latin American (CELAM), all of whom have filed a historic joint brief with the Court. “Parents, and the religious communities to which they belong, must be free to pass on their faith to their children and to decide who will teach it on their behalf. International law clearly protects the autonomy of religious communities. The Church plays an important role in society and society benefits from strong and autonomous religious communities,” said Henríquez. ADF International has submitted a brief to the judges of the Court to express the importance of protecting the right to freedom of religion and belief, along with the right of parents to direct the moral and religious upbringing of their children.

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