Does Religious Freedom Warrant Protection as a Fundamental Human Right?

Frane Staničić


Religious freedom is, in various legal documents, stipulated
as a fundamental legal right. The European Convention on
Human Rights prescribes that everyone has the right to
freedom of thought, conscience and religion. When we
glance through the constitutions of countries of western legal
order, we find that most of them prescribe freedom of
religion as a fundamental right. However, there are authors
who argue that freedom of religion does not warrant
protection by a special right. Their principal argument is that
the right to freedom of religion can be derived from more
basic rights, and that this right should be protected as a right
derived from such rights. The aim of this paper is to
determine whether freedom of religion merits protection as a
fundamental legal right or should it be protected as a
derived right in which case it should be protected while
protecting other fundamental rights such as the right to
freedom of thought or conscience.


freedom of religion; fundamental right; derived right; legal protection

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