OSCE/ODIHR Trains Ukrainian Lawyers on Litigation Related to Freedom of Religion or Belief

From the OSCE website: 

The right to freedom of religion or belief in the case law and practice of the European Court of Human Rights was the focus of training organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on 11 and 12 February 2016 in Kyiv.

The event provided 17 lawyers with a greater understanding of the main principles underpinning the right to freedom of religion or belief as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, as well as of the relevant case law and the procedural aspects of bringing cases before the Court.

“Freedom of religion or belief under the European Convention of Human Rights is valueless unless the right can be enforced through legal process,” Mark Hill,  a barrister specializing in human rights and law and religion who represents clients in the United Kingdom…

Rights Cherished or Freedoms Perished? Symposium in London, 9 November 2015

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the Brigham Young University London Centre were among sponsors of a breakfast symposium held Monday 9 November 2015 at the Inns of Court in London, entitled “Rights Cherished or Freedoms Perished? Perspectives on the future of freedom of conscience, religion and belief and freedom of expression.”  

Mark Hill QC hosted the event at the Francis Taylor Building, Inner Temple. Speakers were Tim Wilson, Australian Human Rights Commissioner, and Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online, Britain’s first on-line only current affairs magazine, and a columnist for the Big Issue in London, the Australian in Sydney and a blogger…

Elder Rasband speaks on “religious freedom and fairness for all” in student body address

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called for “religious freedom and fairness for all” in an address to the student body at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, September 15, 2015. 

Elder Rasband acknowledged that many students may associate the term “religious freedom” with the term “freedom to discriminate”. However, Elder Rasband reminded the audience that the Church has consistently taken a stand for freedom of choice and conscience. He noted the historic compromise reached earlier this year in Utah, benefitting both the LGBT and the religious communities. He stated, “No doctrinal or religious principles were sacrificed….

Elder Holland speaks on Faith, Family, and Religious Freedom at Chapman University


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discussed the issues of faith, family and religious freedom on the campus of Chapman University on Thursday, February 26, 2015. Elder Holland was on the southern California campus when the Fish Interfaith Center was launched a decade ago, and he returned this week to help the center celebrate its 10th anniversary.

 –  From Mormon Newsroom (see link below).


Report: Launch Event for the ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities – 4 February 2015

Report from Cole Durham at the European Parliament

On February 4, 2015, the European Parliamentary Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance hosted, at the European Parliament in Brussels, a launch event for the newly published ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities.

The event was chaired by MEP Dennis de Jong, Co-President of the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance of the EU Parliament, and featured introductory remarks by Snježana Bokulić, Head of the Human Rights Department, OSCE/ODIHR; a presentation of the Guidelines by Finola Flanagan, Former Member of the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (The Venice Commission) and Engy Abdelkader, Member of the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Panel on Freedom of Religion or Belief; and comments by John Kinahan, of Forum 18.  After formal presentations…

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Speaks at BYU, Visits the Center

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput visited Brigham Young University on January 23, 2015, where he spoke to students, faculty, and guests on the topic “The Great Charter at 800” as part of BYU’s “Faith, Family and Society” lecture series. Afterwards he met with leaders of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at the BYU Law School.

Archbishop Chaput was born in 1944 in Concordia, Kansas.  He joined the Capuchin Franciscan order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in1970.  He holds master’s degrees in theology and religious education, and served in various teaching, parish and provincial leadership roles for his Capuchin community before being named Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1988.  Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Denver in1997.  Pope Benedict XVI subsequently appointed him Archbishop of Philadelphia in 2011.  As a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, he was the second Native American to be ordained a bishop in the United States, and the first Native American archbishop. 

Archbishop Chaput served as a Commissioner with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, 2003-2006.  His duties included religious freedom fact-finding missions to China and Turkey, and annual reports monitoring global trends in religious liberty mandated by 1998 federal law.

In 2005, he was named a member of the official U.S. delegation to Cordoba, Spain, for an international “Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance,” sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  At the national level, both the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the Alliance for Defending Freedom have honored his work in advancing religious freedom.

He is the author of two books: Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics (Servant, 2001) and Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (Doubleday, 2008); as well as the Doubleday e-book, A Heart on Fire (2012) and numerous articles and public talks.  Random House is scheduled to publish a forthcoming third book in 2016.