Religion and Human Rights in Greece

Effie Fokas

in eds. Giuseppe Giordan and Siniša Zrinščak, Global Eastern Orthodoxy. Politics, Religion and Human Rights, New York: Springer, forthcoming 2019.

From a number of perspectives Greece may be considered to hold a special place in the nexus between religion and human rights: Greece was the recipient of the first European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) conviction for violation of religious freedom (in Kokkinakis v. Greece, 1993); it is also the single country with the largest number of religious freedom convictions to date  (over 20% of all such violations found across the 47 member states of the Council of Europe); and it is host to a very broad range of debates regarding religious freedom, from blasphemy laws, proselytism bans, and protracted resistance to the building of mosques, to religious education in public schools, limitations on legal status of religious minorities, and – less directly related to religion but rather conspicuously influenced by majority Orthodoxy – limitations on rights related to social ethics issues (e.g., same-sex marriage). This chapter offers an overview of contemporary challenges and debates in the Greek public sphere regarding religion and human rights and in so doing draws on empirical research conducted on religion, human rights, and the impact of the ECtHR at the grassroots level.