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Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Adopted by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
Adopted by the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons, held at Geneva from 2 to 25 July 1951
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 - entry into force 23 March 1976, in accordance with Article 4
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practice his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
Adopted by General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992
1. States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.
2. States shall adopt appropriate legislative and other measures to achieve those ends.
1. Persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (hereinafter referred to as persons belonging to minorities) have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, and to use their own language, in private and in public, freely and without interference or any form of discrimination.
2. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life.
3. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to participate effectively in decisions on the national and, where appropriate, regional level concerning the minority to which they belong or the regions in which they live, in a manner not incompatible with national legislation.
4. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to establish and maintain their own associations.
5. Persons belonging to minorities have the right to establish and maintain, without any discrimination, free and peaceful contacts with other members of their group and with persons belonging to other minorities, as well as contacts across frontiers with citizens of other States to whom they are related by national or ethnic, religious or linguistic ties.
FRANCESCO CAPOTORTI (Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities), Study on the rights of persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (ST/HR(05)/H852/no.5), 1979.
UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), CCPR General Comment No. 23: Article 27 (Rights of Minorities) (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.5), 8 April 1994.
SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF, Report (A/HRC/22/51) 24 December 2012 (the report is largely devoted to RBM rights)
INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON MINORITY ISSUES, Report (A/68/268), 5 August 2013 (the report is devoted to RBM rights)
THE UN REFUGEE AGENCY (UNHCR), Guidelines on International Protection: “Membership of a particular social group” within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (HCR/GIP/02/02), 7 May 2002.
THE UN REFUGEE AGENCY (UNHCR), Guidelines on International Protection: Religion-Based Refugee Claims under Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (HCR/GIP/04/06), 28 April 2004.
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, Minority Rights: International Standards and Guidance for Implementation (HR/PUB/10/3), 2010.
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights A Guide for Advocates (HR/PUB/12/7), 2012.
SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MINORITY ISSUES, Proposal for a draft global convention on the rights of minorities, 23 March 2023 (art. 8-18 of the second optional protocol are devoted to religious/belief minorities)
SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MINORITY ISSUES, Conflict prevention through the protection of the human rights of minorities (A/HRC/49/46), 15 March 2022
UN OHCHR and Equal Rights Trust, Protecting Minority Rights. A Practical Guide to Developing a Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Legislation, New York and Geneva 2023.
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
The text of the Charter has been solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 and re-proclaimed on 12 December 2007
Treaty on European Union
Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007
Directive 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection, and for the content of the protection granted (recast), 13 December 2011
COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief, 24 June 2013.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS, Towards a comprehensive EU protection system for minorities, August 2017.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, Resolution of 3 May 2022 on the persecution of minorities on the grounds of belief or religion (2021/2055(INI))
Council of Europe
European Convention on Human Rights
Signed in Rome on 4th November 1950
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.
Protocol 1. Enforcement of certain Rights and Freedoms not included in Section I of the Convention
Paris 20th March 1952
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 10 November 1994 and entered into force on 1 February 1998
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Helsinki Decisions, 10 July 1992
23. The Council will appoint a High Commissioner on National Minorities. The High Commissioner provides "early warning" and, as appropriate, "early action" at the earliest possible stage in regard to tensions involving national minority issues that have the potential to develop into a conflict within the CSCE area, affecting peace, stability, or relations between participating States. The High Commissioner will draw upon the facilities of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw.
Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, Budapest Summit Declaration, 21 December 1994
OSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER ON NATIONAL MINORITIES (HCNM), The Hague Recommendations regarding the Education Rights of National Minorities & Explanatory Note, October 1996.
OSCE-ODIHR, ADVISORY COUNCIL OF EXPERTS ON FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF, Toledo Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools, 2007.
OFFICE OF THE OSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER ON NATIONAL MINORITIES, The Ljubljana Guidelines on Integration of Diverse Societies, 7 November 2012.
OSCE OFFICE FOR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS (ODIHR), Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities, 2014.
OSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER ON NATIONAL MINORITIES, The Graz Recommendations on Access to Justice and National Minorities, November 2017.
Human Rights Committee
Gareth Anver Prince v. South Africa (CCPR/C/91/D/1474/2006), Communication No. 1474/2006, 14 November 2007.
Fatima Anderson v. Denmark (CCPR/C/99/D/1868/2009), Communication n. 1868/2009, 7 September 2010.
European Court of Human Rights
Serif c. Greece (Application no. 38.178/97), 14 Mars 2000
Molla Sali c. Greece (Application no. 20.452/14), 19 December 2018
İzzettin Doğan and Others v. Turkey (GC), no. 62649/10, ECHR 2016
S.A.S. v. France (GC), no. 43835/11, ECHR 2014
Ancient Baltic religious association “Romuva” v. Lithuania, no. 48329/19, 8 June 2021
Court of Justice
Bundesrepublik Deutschland v. Y (C‑71/11), Z (C‑99/11), 2012
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
Special Rapporteur on minority issues
OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities