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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, 1.3.9 Communicate with Individuals and Communities on Religious Matters at the National and International Level

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

This chapter focuses on issues concerning the right to communicate on religious matters at the national and international level. Such communications not only encompass transmitting and receiving verbal or written religious messages, but also personal contacts, processions, and pilgrimages. At the domestic level, processions or parades may provoke violent clashes and public order problems, often leading the State authorities to ban or restrict such processions. Meanwhile, at the international level, religious communities and their pilgrimage sites are usually not confined to the territory of only one State, which naturally leads to the need for international communications and pilgrimages. This situation illustrates the overlap of the right to communicate in matters of religion also with the rights to disseminate publications and to teach a religion or belief. Issues of interpretation include the questions whether communications are also covered by this freedom if they are made for proselytizing purposes or if they involve transfrontier travels in order to attend a religious meeting or undertake a pilgrimage.

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