Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Corrected link in post on Russia Scientology case

In a case of great importance, the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously in favor of two Scientology religious groups in Russia (Case of Kimlya v. Russia), finding that they have the right to be registered as religious organizations under Russian law.  This decision determines that members of the Church of Scientology of Surgut and the Church of Scientology of Nizhnekamsk have the right to religious freedom and freedom of association pursuant to Articles 9 and 11 of the European Human Rights Convention.  In 1997, the Russian government passed laws preventing religious organizations from forming legally unless they could prove they had been in existence in their respective state(s) for 15 years.  Such a law obviously discriminates against religions not established in a state for 15 years and has now been ruled as unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights.  In reaching this decision, the Court “established that the applicants were unable to obtain recognition and effective enjoyment of their rights to freedom of religion and association in any organizational form. The first applicant could not obtain registration of the Scientology group as a non-religious legal entity because it was considered to be a religious community by the Russian authorities.  The applications for registration as a religious organization submitted by the first and second applicants as founders of their respective groups ... were denied by reference to the insufficient period of the groups’ existence. Finally, the restricted status of a religious group for which they qualified ... conveyed no practical or effective benefits to them as such a group was deprived of legal personality, property rights and the legal capacity to protect the interests of its members and was also severely hampered in the fundamental aspects of its religious functions.  Accordingly, the Court finds that there has been an interference with the applicants’ rights under Article 9 interpreted in the light of Article 11.”

 

kws

 

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