Report on Religious Education

Margarita Markoviti, 25 April 2018

This report presents the details and timeline of the question of religious education in Greece. It focuses on the two most salient issues around religious education today: the exemption procedure from and the content and objectives of the class of religious education. The report finally discusses the ways in which these issues are addressed in the recent appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (Papageorgiou and Others v Greece), in which the applicants, who are not Christian Orthodox, complain that their daughters have to follow the confessional class of religious education in primary school and in high school, and, in asking for exemption from the class, that they are moreover forced to openly declare their convictions. The Greek Council of State has postponed the hearing of their case repeatedly (most recently on April 26, 2018), so the applicants will now appeal directly to the Strasbourg Court.

Greece – Report on Religious Education

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Single ECtHR Case Study Reports

The study of individual ECtHR cases emanating from each of the country studies in Grassrootsmobilise offers a vantage point on the role of mobilisations in the full life circle of a given case, from its inception (and the influences on that inception) to its aftermath, in terms of further mobilisations inspired by the case (or not, as the case may be). With one such case selected in each country study, this aspect of our research is not designed to generate generalisable conclusions but, rather, to contribute to our understanding of how individual cases tend to fit into much broader stories of mobilisation before and/or after the case in question. The research entails in-depth interviews with key actors in the particular cases and with actors in cases inspired by these, as well as careful study of the relevant case law from the local, national and European level. The cases selected for this in-depth study are Vallianatos v. Greece, Costa and Pavan v. Italy, Sindicatul Pastorul cel Bun v. Romania, and Ercep v. Turkey.

Greece – Single ECtHR Case Study Report

Italy – Single ECtHR Case Study Report

Romania – Single ECtHR Case Study Report

Turkey – Single ECtHR Case Study Report

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National Courts Study Reports

The study of the extent to and ways in which the European Court of Human Rights is referenced in national courts (whether by judges or by claimants) is designed to contribute to our understanding of of how the Court’s messages are diffused and the potential impact of the latter at the grassroots level.  The National Courts Study entails three stages of both quantitative and qualitative research, culminating in an in-depth study of five selected national level cases. Here we share the results of this final stage.

Greece – National Courts Study Report

Italy – National Courts Study Report

Romania – National Courts Study Report

Turkey – National Courts Study Report

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Preliminary Media Study Results

We have conducted a systematic study of references to the ECtHR in national mainstream print media, designed to contribute to our understanding of how much information about the Court is published in widely-read papers, as well as to our understanding of discourse and mobilisations of relevant actors around the Court and its religion-related case law.

The study covers both media discourse, and the voices of relevant social actors as recorded in the media. It is a quantitative study, recording references to the ECtHR in relation to our selected issue areas (religion and education; legal status of religious minorities; LGBT-related issues in all but the Turkish case; and conscientious objection in the Greek and Turkish cases only). The study was conducted in five mainstream newspapers in each of the four country case studies, broadly representing the political spectrum within the ‘mainstream’ qualification, and as far back as the archives go for each paper from 1993 onwards.

The newspapers covered for the Greek case study were Avgi, Efimerida ton Syntakton, Eleftherotypia, Ethnos and Kathimerini. The Italian researchers looked at La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, L’Unità, Libero and Avvenire. The newspapers examined for the Romanian case study were Adevărul, Evenimentul zilei, Gândul, Hotnews and Jurnalul National. Finally, the Turkish newspapers covered were Cumhuriyet, Hürriyet, Milliyet, Sabah and Yeni Safak.

The media study is a work-in-progress. For the Romanian case study we present a separate aspect of the study, to be explored for all the case studies as this work develops. You can find charts based on the preliminary results of the media study here:

Report on Preliminary Media Study Results


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Preliminary Reports on the Legal Status of Religious Minorities in the Shadow of the European Court of Human Rights

One of the issue areas studied in common across the four country case studies is that of legal status of religious minority groups, though the legal status-related issues arising in each case study vary significantly. Below are preliminary reports prepared by the researchers on each case study. These informal reports pool together certain background information about each case study, as it is developing in its research on the impact of the European Court of Human Rights case law on relevant actors’ discourse, social and/or legal mobilisations in issues related to the legal status of religious minorities. The reports address the basic questions of: What are the legal status issues investigated thus far for this aspect of our research? What are the strategies pursued by the groups involved in these issues? Which of these issues related to the legal status of religious minorities has a reference point in ECtHR case law (whether in the country in question or against any other state)? To what extent do the actors involved in these legal status issues engage with the ECtHR in their claims-making, what what preliminary assessments can be made regarding the reasons for the latter engagement or non-engagement, as the case may be?

Greece – Preliminary report

Italy – Preliminary report

Romania – Preliminary report

Turkey – Preliminary report


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