REGISTRATION OF RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

  • Sergej Flere University of Maribor, Slovenia

Abstract

In the text regimes of religious community registration by statutory law in European countries is reviewed. Although freedom of religion is declared as a pricniple at the European level and individual constitutional provisions, varied obstacles to registering religious communities are set. They may reflect fear of abuse of religion or the intent to safeguard the hegemony of a traditionally entrenched religion. Some of these obstacles are historically entrenched, whereas in post-Communist countries they have been set during democrratic reconstruction. States differ in conditions for registration, in bodies competent to act upon such supplications, procedures in reviewing them and in practice. A trend toward reaching the standards set by the Europeaн Convention on Human Rights may be discerned. The major policies of the Venice Commission regarding religious liberty and a number of standard setting judgments by the European Court of Human Rights, regarding religious liberty, particularly within the registration of religious groups are reviewed in continuation. These policies and judgments ensue from a strict vision of individual and collective religious rights and may collide with traditional religious cultures favouring an entrenched church, within various confessional traditions in Europe. These opinions and judgments present a limited but important instrument of affirmation of religious liberty and suppressing state arbitrariness in the treatment of religious freedom, particularly of minority groups and beliefs. Problems of Orthodox cultures are stressed.

Keywords: registration of religious communities, religious liberty, church and state, separation of church and state, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights. Art. 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, Venice Commission

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Published
2017-01-11