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International Approaches to Governing Ethnic Diversity$
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Jane Boulden and Will Kymlicka

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199676583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676583.001.0001

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The Governance of Religious Diversity at the European Court of Human Rights

The Governance of Religious Diversity at the European Court of Human Rights

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 The Governance of Religious Diversity at the European Court of Human Rights
Source:
International Approaches to Governing Ethnic Diversity
Author(s):

Matthias Koenig

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676583.003.0003

This chapter explores the role of international courts in the governance of religious diversity. Drawing on recent sociological and socio-legal debates over causes and consequences of ‘judicialization’, the paper explores the impact of the European Court of Human Rights on the accommodation of religious minorities. With institutional autonomy strengthened and litigation rates growing, the Court has since the 1990s moved to greater judicial activism, finding several countries in violation of the right to religious freedom and thus challenging long-established church-state-relations in Eastern as well as in Western Europe. However, there are clear limits to the Court’s support for religious minorities. The Court refrains from full-scale criticism of national religious symbols and its jurisprudence shifts between more or less diversity-friendly versions of ‘secularism’. As a result, not all religious minorities have profited equally from the new legal opportunities provided within the transnational human rights field.

Keywords:   ECtHR, human rights, international law, Islam, judicialization, religious freedom, secularism, sociology

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