Shared Sacred Sites in the Balkans and the Mediterranean: An International Workshop

24 September, 2017

Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki

On 24 September 2017 Margarita Markoviti presented aspects of her research at the opening of the “Shared Sacred Sites in the Balkans and the Mediterranean” exhibition at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, as part of the panel on ‘Religious Pluralism Now: Politics, Challenges, Success Stories’.

The workshop programme is available here.

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Grassrootsmobilise independent session, APSA Annual Conference

On the occasion of the APSA Annual Conference that took place in San Francisco from 31 August to 3 September 2017, the Grassrootsmobilise research team organised an independent session with a number of distinguished academics also participating in the APSA conference and working on or around related issues.

The session was held on 31 August at the Westin Hotel, where the Grassrootsmobilise team was joined by Michael McCann, Erik Voeten, Bogdan Mihai Radu, Lisa Conant, Nicholas Tampio, Courtney Hillebrecht, Ayelet Shachar, Clifford Bob, and Guy Ben-Porat.

Effie Fokas presented her research on ‘Awareness about religion at the European Court of Human Rights at the grassroots level’, followed by feedback from Michael McCann. Dia Anagnostou then gave a presentation on ‘The domestic implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgments related to religious minorities’, with Erik Voeten acting as discussant. Finally Liviu Andreescu’s presentation on ‘The influence (or lack of it) of European Court of Human Rights in domestic struggles around religion and education: a comparison of Greece, Italy, Turkey and Romania’ was discussed by Bogdan Mihai Radu. The presentations were followed by a highly fruitful general discussion.

Recording available upon request.

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Measuring Legitimacy at the Grassroots: Mobilizations in the Shadow of the ECtHR

31 August – 3 September, 2017

American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting, San Francisco

The Grassrootsmobilise research team recently participated in the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Annual Meeting that took place in San Francisco, with a full panel on ‘Measuring Legitimacy at the Grassroots: Mobilizations in the Shadow of the ECtHR’.

The panel was chaired by Effie Fokas, with Dia Anagnostou and Liviu Andreescu as discussants.

Margarita Markoviti discussed the ‘Legal recognition of religious minorities in Greece “in the shadow” of the ECtHR’, examining the emerging role of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case law in influencing the legal status of religious minorities in Greece and offering new insight on the legitimacy of the ECtHR by analyzing the extent to which its religion-related jurisprudence has provided the political, legal and discursive opportunity structures in Greece, which religious minority communities use in order to raise their awareness, to articulate and claim their rights.

Pasquale Annicchino and Alberta Giorgi explored, with their presentation ”​The Constitutional Court as an agent of change in Italy?​’,​ whether and the extent to which in a given number of selected cases the Italian Constitutional Court (also indirectly by referencing to the ECtHR) has contributed to legal change and how actors, whether religious minorities or any other kind of claimant, have decided to employ tactics and arguments used also before the Strasbourg Court.

Mihai Popa’s presentation ‘Seeking Justice in Strasbourg? Religious actors’ uses of the ECtHR in Romania’ explored the uses that representatives of religious communities make of the ECtHR and sought to understand the relationship between ECtHR awareness, litigation at the Strasbourg Court, and religious freedom dynamics. By drawing on data gathered through interviews with top-level representatives of religious organizations operating at the national level in Romania, the presentation compared how individual actors engage with the ECtHR in order to highlight the main factors that correlate with a heightened awareness of the Strasbourg Court and its judgments.

Ceren Ozgul examined the ‘Legitimacy of the ECtHR among the grassroots actors in Turkey regarding FoRB’, focusing on legal mobilization in the Turkish courts regarding freedom of religion, in order to examine the legitimacy of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) among the grassroots actors in Turkey and discussing the legal mobilization around freedom of belief, religion and conscience among grassroots actors in the wake of high profile ECtHR decisions such as Hasan and Eylem Zengin v. Turkey and Ercep v. Turkey and in the light of their non-implementation.

 

The conference programme is available here and you can listen to the panel here:

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Constraints and opportunities of ‘judicialization’: religious organizations’ mobilizations and the European Court of Human Rights

29 August – 1 September, 2017

European Sociological Association (ESA) Conference, Panteion University of Social and Political Science and Harokopio University, Athens, Greece

The European Sociological Association’s (ESA) 2017 Conference on the theme ‘(Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities’ took place in Athens from 29 August to 1 September 2017. Recent research by Alberta Giorgi, Grassrootsmobilise researcher for the Italian case study, on ‘Constraints and opportunities of ‘judicialization’: religious organizations’ mobilizations and the European Court of Human Rights’ was presented at the conference.

The conference programme is available here.

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Battlefield Romania: Activist Struggles for the Meaning of “Family” at the Interface between Legal Pluralism and Social Diversity

20 July, 2017

Centre for Citizenship, Social Pluralism and Religious Diversity, University of Potsdam

Researcher Mihai Popa recently discussed aspects of his Grassrootsmobilise research at the University of Potsdam’s Centre for Citizenship, Social Pluralism and Religious Diversity, in his presentation entitled ‘Battlefield Romania: Activist Struggles for the Meaning of “Family” at the Interface between Legal Pluralism and Social Diversity’.

 

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The European Court of Human Rights at the Grassroots Level: Exploring the Court’s Role in Governing Religious Pluralism on the Ground

5-7 July, 2017

ICON-S Annual Meeting on ‘Courts, Power, Public Law’, University of Copenhagen

From 5-7 July the University of Copenhagen hosted the ICON-S 2017 Annual Meeting, with the overarching theme ‘Courts, Power, Public Law’. This conference looked to explore the expanding role of courts that is arguably one of the most significant developments in late-20th and early-21st century government.

The Grassrootsmobilise team participated in this conference with a panel on ‘The European Court of Human Rights at the Grassroots Level: Exploring the Court’s Role in Governing Religious Pluralism on the Ground’. This panel spoke to the question of ‘to what extent do courts succeed in achieving their goals, and under what conditions?’.  The European Court of Human Rights is an arena where some of the most challenging questions around European religious pluralism are deliberated, and its case law has centrally contributed to European efforts to govern tensions between secular and religious worldviews. In light of scholarly debates questioning the direct effects of courts, this panel reflected research focused on developments that take place ‘in the shadow’ of the ECtHR. It engaged especially with the extent to which ECtHR decisions define the ‘political opportunity structures’ and the discursive frameworks within which citizens act. What do we learn about the relevance and mobilizing potential (or lack thereof) of the ECtHR’s case law when examining its uses (or lack thereof) in national/local level case law?

Margarita Markoviti discussed ‘Religious pluralism and Grassroots Mobilizations in Greece: The different uses of European Court of Human Rights religion-related jurisprudence in national and local courts’, examining the different ways in which European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decisions around religion provide the “political opportunity structures” and the discursive frameworks within which citizens in Greece mobilize.

Pasquale Annicchino’s presentation ‘A two speeds impact? Italy, religiously motivated claims and the European Court of Human Rights’, based on research conducted with Alberta Giorgi, assessed, through an analysis of national case studies and key-witnesses interviews, how and to which extent claims based on provisions of the Convention and decisions of the Court have contributed to mobilization and outcomes in national courts.

Mihai Popa, with his presentation entitled ‘Who cares about Strasbourg? The role of activists in foregrounding the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights in religion-related litigations in Romania’, investigated in-depth two of the most prominent domestic litigations on matters related to religion in Romania in the last decade, highlighted the increasing attention paid to the Court by activists from the religious sector of civil society and pointed out that social mobilizations are key to understanding the ‘indirect effects’ of the ECtHR in present-day Romania, both within and outside the courts of law.

Ceren Ozgul looked at ‘“Genuine Belief” in the International and National Courts: The ECtHR and Grassroots Mobilization around Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Turkey’ and examined the relevance and mobilizing potential of the ECtHR’s case law on conscientious objection to military service as well as the obstacles it presents for grassroots actors in Turkey, following legal mobilization on conscientious objection to compulsory military service in Turkish national courts on two tracks: pacifist anti militarist action and religiously based conscientious objection.

The programme is available here and you can listen to the panel here:

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Religion and national identity on trial: the impact of the ECtHR on religious freedom at the grassroots level

9-10 June, 2017

Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen

Effie Fokas, Grassrootsmobilise Principal Investigator, was recently invited to the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Institute of Advanced Study at Göttingen University, to participate in the workshop ‘Religious freedom and the varieties of religious establishment – National identities, public morals and cultural values’, held on the 9th and 10th of June.

The workshop was organized by the research group ‘Human Rights, Constitutional Politics and Religious Diversity’ at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, and brought together scholars from various disciplines with distinctive regional expertise in order to jointly examine questions of religious freedom and its relationship with claims about issues of national identity, public morals or shared cultural values.

The workshop focused, in particular, on three inter-related questions:

  1. a) What is the role of religion in constituting national identity, public morals or cultural values across diverse polities?
  2. b) How do references to national identity or cultural-moral traditions constrain religious freedom and other fundamental rights?
  3. c) How do references to national identity or cultural-moral traditions affect aspirations of minority religious groups for accommodation and public recognition?

Effie Fokas’ presentation ‘Religion and national identity on trial: the impact of the ECtHR on religious freedom at the grassroots level’ was based on recent research from the Grassrootsmobilise project.

The programme is available here.

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The Kokkinakis Papers

27 May, 2017

Central European University, Budapest

On 27 May 2017 the international conference ‘The Kokkinakis Papers: Taking Stock of 25 years of ECHR Jurisprudence on Freedom of Religion or Belief‘, convened by Cole W. Durham, Malcolm Evans, Jeroen Temperman and Jeremy T. Gunn, took place at the Central European University in Budapest. This conference brought together the authors of a volume planned for the 25th anniversary of the Kokkinakis v. Greece judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. The aim of the conference and the planned volume is to explore the depths and developments of ECtHR jurisprudence, as well as the broader context and implications of this case law from a wide range of perspectives.

Effie Fokas presented her Grassrootsmobilise-based research on ‘Kokkinakis at the Grassroots Level’, considering the extent to which grassroots level actors know about the case of Kokkinakis and see in it an opportunity to further their own religion-related rights claims, the extent to which the case inspired social actors such as rights activists, cause lawyers or faith group members, to mobilise for their own religion-related rights, whether in court, in the halls of government, or in the streets, and whether Kokkinakis left a mark on the individual citizen with concerns to do with religious freedoms.

 

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Presentation on the Dynamics of State-Religion Relations and Citizen Mobilization in Present-day Romania

9 May, 2017

Institute for East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Postdoctoral researcher Mihai Popa recently presented aspects of his research at the Freie Universität Berlin’s Institute for East European Studies, in a presentation entitled ‘Towards a Pro-Family Constitution: Dynamics of State-Religion Relations and Citizen Mobilization in Present-day Romania’.

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Grassrootsmobilise Presentations on Religious Minorities and the ECtHR at ASN World Convention

4 May, 2017

ASN World Convention, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York

Margarita Markoviti and Ceren Ozgul recently presented aspects of their research relating to religious minorities and the ECtHR at the Annual World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) which took place from 4-6 May 2017 at the International Affairs Building, Harriman Institute, Columbia University in New York. They participated in a panel on ‘Religious Minorities in the Post-Ottoman Space’ in the section on ‘Turkey, Greece & Cyprus’, with presentations on ‘The ECtHR as a venue for Greco-Turkish relations: The Treaty of Lausanne and the Muslim Minority in Western Thrace’ and ‘Religious Minorities without Legal Status: The Lausanne Treaty and the Right to Property Cases against Turkey in the ECtHR’ respectively.

Further information is available here.

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