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Part 1 Freedom of Religion or Belief, 1.3.3 Religious Symbols

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 presents issues concerning the right to wear or display religious symbols. As highlighted by the Special Rapporteur’s mandate practice, the main challenge in implementing such a right consists of protecting both the right of a person to voluntarily wear religious symbols as well as the right of a person not to be forced by States or non-State actors to wear such religious symbols. The circumstances of each situation must be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all human rights aspects that may be at stake. This chapter discusses the mandate practice on the issue of wearing religious symbols by employees, police officers, university students, and pupils at public schools, teachers, and university lecturers, as well as the imposition of dress codes by States or non-State actors. The jurisprudence and reports by Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures have provided useful guidance on the regulation of religious symbols.

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