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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, 1.2 Freedom from Coercion

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 — Coercion & harassment

This chapter addresses the relationship between article 18(2) and article 18(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 18(2) states that no person shall be subject to coercion which would impair his or her freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of their choice. This provision for the forum internum does not allow for any compromise or limitation. By contrast, article 18(3) deals with possible limitations concerning manifestations of religion or belief in social life. However, the distinction in legal protection, as it is drawn between these two dimensions of freedom of religion or belief, should not be misconstrued as an abstract hierarchy or a fragmentation of two separate spheres. The unconditional prohibition of coercion in the forum internum enhances the status of freedom of religion or belief in all its dimensions.

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