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Article

Access_open State Obligations to Counter Islamophobia: Comparing Fault Lines in the International Supervisory Practice of the HRC/ICCPR, the ECtHR and the AC/FCNM

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Human rights, positive state obligations, islamophobia, international supervisory mechanisms
Authors Kristin Henrard
AbstractAuthor's information

    Islamophobia, like xenophobia, points to deep-seated, ingrained discrimination against a particular group, whose effective enjoyment of fundamental rights is impaired. This in turn triggers the human rights obligations of liberal democratic states, more particularly states’ positive obligations (informed by reasonability considerations) to ensure that fundamental rights are effectively enjoyed, and thus also respected in interpersonal relationships. This article identifies and compares the fault lines in the practice of three international human rights supervisory mechanisms in relation to Islamophobia, namely the Human Rights Committee (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), the European Court of Human Rights (European Convention on Human Rights) and the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The supervisory practice is analysed in two steps: The analysis of each international supervisory mechanism’s jurisprudence, in itself, is followed by the comparison of the fault lines. The latter comparison is structured around the two main strands of strategies that states could adopt in order to counter intolerance: On the one hand, the active promotion of tolerance, inter alia through education, awareness-raising campaigns and the stimulation of intercultural dialogue; on the other, countering acts informed by intolerance, in terms of the prohibition of discrimination (and/or the effective enjoyment of substantive fundamental rights). Having regard to the respective strengths and weaknesses of the supervisory practice of these three international supervisory mechanisms, the article concludes with some overarching recommendations.


Kristin Henrard
Kristin Henrard is Professor International Human Rights and Minorities, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

    Both the French Supreme Court and the Versailles Court of Appeal held that an employer, who must ensure that liberties and fundamental rights of each employee are respected in the working community, may lawfully prohibit the wearing of any visible sign of political, philosophical or religious beliefs in the workplace, provided that the rule contained in the company rules and regulations applies without distinction to employees in direct contact with the customers of the company only. But in the absence of such rules, sanctioning an employee who refuses to remove her Islamic veil based on the wish of a customer, which does not qualify as a genuine and determining occupational requirement, amounts to an unlawful direct discrimination and should consequently be held null and void.


Claire Toumieux
Claire Toumieux is partner and Thomas Robert is an attorney at Allen & Overy LLP in Paris, France.

Thomas Robert

János Tamás Czigle
PhD candidate, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Changing Realities

Islamic Veils and Minority Protection

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords European Court of Human Rights, freedom of religion Islamic veils, minority protection
Authors Dr Gábor Kardos LLM, PhD.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most of the immigrant communities in Europe do not show any signs of giving up their identity. Just the contrary, they seem to be more and more committed to preserving their culture, traditions, language and religion. Their growing numbers and adherence to their culture and traditions have raised the question of whether it would be necessary to accept them as permanent factors in the society, and consequently, to secure for them, beside equality and freedom of religion, other minority rights such as the right to preserve their cultural and language identity. This change might presuppose a renewal of the traditional understanding of the concept of the national minority. To raise the standards for minority rights of immigrants and at the same time to maintain the level of protection of homeland minorities is not an easy but a necessary solution. But even the accommodation of certain aspects of the freedom of religion of migrants is a problem in practice. As far as the public use of Islamic veils is concerned, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights proved to be too lenient towards those state parties which put secularity of public institutions before the freedom of religion of the individual. The dissenting opinions correctly emphasize that the role of the authorities is not to remove the cause of tension by eliminating pluralism but to ensure that competing groups tolerate each other. If the Islamic veils are symbols of pressurization, oppression and discrimination, or proselytism, the intervention of state authorities may be justified but the law cannot presuppose that the aforementioned situations are the prevailing ones. If it does so, the collateral damage at the expense of a basic human right of certain true believers is too high.


Dr Gábor Kardos LLM, PhD.
LLM, PhD. Dr Habil. Professor of International Law, International Law Department, Faculty of Law, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary.
Law Review

Access_open 2018/1 EELC’s review of the year 2017

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 1 2018
Authors Ruben Houweling, Catherine Barnard, Zef Even e.a.
Abstract

    This is the first time we have produced a review of employment law cases from the previous year, based on analysis by various of our academic board members. But before looking at their findings, we would first like to make some general remarks.


Ruben Houweling

Catherine Barnard

Zef Even

Amber Zwanenburg

Daiva Petrylaitė

Petr Hůrka

Jean-Philippe Lhernould

Erika Kovács

Jan-Pieter Vos

Andrej Poruban

Luca Ratti

Niklas Bruun

Francesca Maffei
Article

Freedom of Religion at the Workplace

Background to the Ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Achbita and Bougnaoui Cases

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2017
Authors János Tamás Czigle
Author's information

János Tamás Czigle
PhD researcher at Pázmány Péter Catholic University Faculty of Law and Political Sciences, Budapest.

    The article considers the role of the liberal public-private divide in protecting religious minorities against national-majoritarian assault. It links the defence of the public-private divide to liberal neutrality and argues that it rests on two distinct propositions: that the distinction between the ’public sphere’ and the ’private sphere’ is a meaningful way to cognize and structure modern pluralistic societies; and that there is a meaningful way to distinguish what is or ought to be ‘public’ from what is or ought to be ‘private.’ While the latter proposition cannot be defended on grounds of liberal neutrality, the former proposition provides the institutional framework for conducting liberal politics by enabling the negotiation of the public and the private between national majorities and religious minorities as members of the same political community.


Daniel Augenstein
Daniel Augenstein is Associate Professor at the Department of European and International Public Law at Tilburg University.
Article

The Manifestation of Religious Belief Through Dress

Human Rights and Constitutional Issues

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Keywords religion, religious freedom, burqa, hijab, Muslim
Authors Anthony Gray
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jurisdictions around the world continue to grapple with the clash between religious freedoms and other freedoms and values to which a society subscribes. A recent, and current, debate concerns the extent to which a person is free to wear items of clothing often thought to be symbolic of the Muslim faith, though the issues are not confined to any particular religion. Bans on the wearing of this type of clothing have often (surprisingly) survived human rights challenges, on the basis that governments had legitimate objectives in banning or restricting them. A pending case gives the European Court another chance to reconsider the issues. It is hoped that the Court will closely scrutinise claims of legitimate objectives for such laws; perceptions can arise that sometimes, governments are pandering to racism, intolerance and xenophobia with such measures, rather than seeking to meet more high-minded objectives.


Anthony Gray
Professor of Law, University of Southern Queensland, Australia.
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