The Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Freedom of Expression

18-02-2009

Executive summary There is increasing scrutiny of the practice of states in relation to matters of religion or belief and whilst such practice takes place - and is subject to analysis - on many levels, one of the most important issues concerns the manner in which it bears upon the enjoyment of other fundamental rights. Given the importance placed upon the freedom of expression in the western liberal democratic tradition, it is easy to see why the relationship between religion, belief and expression has become so significant an issue and why the manner in which any tensions are addressed tends to assume something of a totemic significance in the eyes of some observers.

Executive summary There is increasing scrutiny of the practice of states in relation to matters of religion or belief and whilst such practice takes place - and is subject to analysis - on many levels, one of the most important issues concerns the manner in which it bears upon the enjoyment of other fundamental rights. Given the importance placed upon the freedom of expression in the western liberal democratic tradition, it is easy to see why the relationship between religion, belief and expression has become so significant an issue and why the manner in which any tensions are addressed tends to assume something of a totemic significance in the eyes of some observers.