In the present time, Orthodox Christians as well as other religious groups feel particularly vulnerable to intolerance, discrimination, and even violence on the part of materialistic supporters of the “new morality”, of aggressive antireligious groups and from those who, in arguing for the secular character of the state, demand exclusion of religion from public life – media, education, culture, and health. Unfortunately, new legislation too often becomes an instrument to violate the rights of believers and their freedom of religion, thus provoking tensions and conflicts within society.
There is now an evident need to monitor the rights and freedoms of Orthodox Christians in Europe within 47 countries of the Council of Europe. Such monitoring the religious rights of Orthodox Christians will help to protect their religious freedom more effectively.
The Centre for Monitoring the Rights and Freedom of Orthodox Christians in Europe was established to present the results of such monitoring to European societies, to the Council of Europe and to other international European organisations.
This project is initiated by active Orthodox Christians in Europe and supported by the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Council of Europe.
While emphasizing the violations of Orthodox Christians’ rights in Europe, the centre underlines that this is not a call for special treatment for Orthodox Christians, but an attempt to encourage the Council of Europe member states to respect freedom of religion in general and to avoid discrimination against any religious community and its members, regardless of the size of the community to which a person belongs.
The collected incidents are distributed among four chapters. Each chapter is devoted to a violation of a distinct Orthodox Christians’ freedom or right that is insured by the European Convention on Human Rights and other international legal instruments. Then, the incidents are further classified by the most recurring types of violations. The European Convention on Human Rights1 and Guide on Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights2 were used for typifying most common violations. The assigned chapter and the violation type of an incident is reflected in the tag of the publication.
- European Court of Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights; available at https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf
- European Court of Human Rights, Guide on Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (updated on 31 December 2018); available at https://echr.coe.int/Documents/Guide_Art_9_ENG.pdf.