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What is, or should be, the relationship between claims of violations of the right to manifest one’s religion as a result of a generally applicable law or policy, and claims of indirect discrimination on grounds of religion?

The interrelationship of human rights protections is not a new question. Just as rights may conflict, rights may also overlap. The arrest of a human rights activist for expressing her views could violate both the prohibition against arbitrary detention and her freedom of expression. Excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators could violate their rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and security of the person, and the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Certain actions or inactions may implicate specific rights, such as the rights to language and culture, and to freedom of religion, opinion, or belief, and may also constitute discrimination on those same grounds. The relationship between closely related rights such as the freedoms of expression and assembly also may not be well-elaborated because human rights courts and other bodies at times may, for reasons of economy, restraint, or institutional tradition, refrain from examining some claims once they have found violations of others.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Comparative and Foreign Law | International Humanitarian Law | Law


Originally published in the Harvard Human Rights Journal.