StateReligion Relationships and Human Rights Law (Studies in Religion, Secular Beliefs and Human Rights)

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9789004181489: StateReligion Relationships and Human Rights Law (Studies in Religion, Secular Beliefs and Human Rights)
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This book examines the question of how the mode of state-religion identification affects the state's scope for compliance with human rights law. It presents a human rights-based assessment of the various modes of state-religion identification and of the various forms of state practice that surround and characterize these different state-religion models. A close assessment of norms of human rights law substantiates that, although human rights law on the face of it is seemingly neutral to the issue of state-religion identification, legal principles can be extrapolated that have a profound bearing on the question of legitimacy of the possible diverse relationships that may exist between the state and religion. A range of thematic case studies on, among other issues, Establishment of Religion & the 'Equal Religious Rights of Others', Religion & Freedom of Expression, Religion & Political Rights, Religion & Educational Rights, Religion & Freedom of Association and Religion & Equal Employment Opportunities, demonstrates that existing regimes of positive state identification with religion are not devoid of forms of institutionalised discrimination and de facto practices of discrimination on grounds of religion or belief (or lack thereof). At the same time, it is observed by the author that in some secular or separationist states the ideals of state secularism and separationism have come to be considered ends in themselves. This has given rise to situations where the principles of secularism and separationism are construed so as to impose illegitimate limits on the activities of religions or illegitimate limits on the individual manifestation of certain beliefs. This book makes a case for the recognition of a state duty to remain impartial with respect to religion or belief in all regards so as to comply with people's fundamental right to be governed, at all times, in a religiously neutral manner.

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This book presents a human rights-based assessment of the various modes of state religion identification and of the various forms of state practice that characterize these different state religion models. This book makes a case for the recognition of a state duty to remain impartial with respect to religion or belief in all regards so as to comply with people s fundamental right to be governed, at all times, in a religiously neutral manner. As this book demonstrates through the various case studies there is increasing interest and concern at the manner in which questions concerning the enjoyment of the right to the freedom of religion or belief bear upon key questions concerning the governance of democratic society. Issues raised involve matters concerning employment, education, expression, association and, more generally, the interface between religion and political life. The existing literature often traces these concerns back to the need to consider the place of religion in contemporary society but leaves matters there. Another body of academic literature explores the theoretical dimensions of that relationship but fails to connect it to the practice of states in order to test out the propositions which are the product of these reflections. The great virtue of this work is that is seeks to unite these various enterprises and engages head on with the challenges which this produces The aim is to demonstrate and illustrate the key contention: that there is an emergent right to religiously neutral governance, and that this is incompatible with the continuation of systems which offer preference to particular forms of belief system religious or otherwise. A chief virtue of this book is that it works through the consequences of this claim in a fearless fashion, posing challenges for those states which continue to use their legal frameworks to offer support (directly or indirectly) for historical, dominant or favoured forms of religion or belief. It challenges received assumptions and, by driving the logic of contemporary human rights thinking to the foundations of state-religion relationships performs a valuable service for those engaging with this most difficult and timely of questions. Malcolm D. Evans, Professor of Public International Law, University of Bristol

About the Author:

Jeroen Temperman is Associate Professor of Public International Law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has published extensively on international human rights law and religion-state relationships, matters of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief and non-discrimination. He is editor-in-chief of Religion & Human Rights: An International Journal.

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