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

Part 5 Cross-Cutting Issues, 5.2 Limitations

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 — Right to peaceful assembly — Expulsion

This chapter discusses issues concerning the limitation of freedom of religion or belief, including related issues of interpretation. First, religious manifestation is different from holding, adopting, or changing religion or belief in that the latter is not subject to any limitation whatsoever. Second, national security is mentioned as a limitations ground in articles 12 (liberty of movement), 13 (expulsion), 14 (fair trial), 19 (freedom of expression), 21 (peaceful assembly), and 22 (freedom of association), but not in article 18 of the ICCPR. Third, traditions and limitations intersect in two ways; a single tradition cannot determine limitation on the grounds of morals, and limitations should not target a single tradition. Lastly, the exercise of assessing ‘necessity’ and ‘proportionality’ should not sideline the importance of upholding the protection of the relevant human rights. International procedures should only limit freedom of religion or belief in accordance with a strict understanding of the rights and limitation regime concerned, and with detailed justification of the rationale for their decision making in the compromise that is proposed.

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