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Part 1 Freedom of Religion or Belief, 1.3.8 Registration

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

Heiner Bielefeldt, Nazila Ghanea, Michael Wiener

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 July 2024

Religion — Freedom of association — Freedom of expression — Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion — Minorities — Human rights remedies

This chapter focuses on several issues concerning the registration of religious communities. While ‘registration’ may appear to be a merely technical theme of less political significance, the issue is actually a source of major human rights problems in the area of freedom of religion or belief. Quite a number of States assume that only members of ‘registered’ religious communities should be allowed to fully practise their freedom of religion or belief. Moreover, registration procedures are often overly bureaucratic, cumbersome, and thus not in the service of freedom of religion or belief. This chapter derives from the reports of Special Procedures a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ for the formulation of registration laws and procedures concerning the acquisition of legal status. In terms of issues of interpretation, this chapter discusses misunderstandings with regard to the term ‘recognition’, which should be avoided in the context of registration procedures.

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