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Freedom of Religion or Belief - An International Law Commentary by Bielefeldt, Heiner; Ghanea, Nazila; Wiener, Michael (21st January 2016)

Part 1 Freedom of Religion or Belief, 1.3.7 The Liberty of Parents to Ensure the Religious and Moral Education of Their Children

From: Freedom of Religion or Belief: An International Law Commentary

Heiner Bielefeldt, Nazila Ghanea, Michael Wiener

Subject(s):
Religion — Freedom of association — Freedom of expression — Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion — Minorities — Economic, social, and cultural rights — Children, rights

This chapter examines the issues concerning the travaux préparatoires, general comments, and jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights regarding the liberty of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions. This chapter notes that there are several ‘actors’—as rights holders and/or duty-bearers—whose rights, liberties, duties, and interests need to be considered and possibly reconciled in case of clashes, i.e. children, their parents (or when applicable legal guardians), the State, and religious communities. In terms of issues of interpretation, this chapter deals with the two opposite questions whether there is a right to remain uninfluenced by religious upbringing, and whether parental rights risk being eroded by recognizing rights of the child.

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