Research Handbook on Law and Religion
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Research Handbook on Law and Religion

Edited by Rex Ahdar

Offering an interdisciplinary, international and philosophical perspective, this comprehensive Research Handbook explores both perennial and recent legal issues that concern the modern state and its interaction with religious communities and individuals.
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Chapter 15: Controversial doctrine: the relevance of religious content in the supervisory role of international human rights bodies

Paul M Taylor


This chapter examines those situations when human rights supervisory bodies support restrictions on freedom of religion based on the incompatibility of those beliefs with human rights standards. Freedom of religion protects religious beliefs and practices, largely blind to the human rights compatibility of their content, subject to the usual convention limitation provisions, as an embedded feature of human rights protection. This chapter explores the significance of content in the operation of those limitation provisions, in a review of justifications based on necessity in a democratic society. It also touches on the significance of autonomy for individuals and organisations, the degree of support given in individual decisions to human-rights-incompatible doctrine, and the interaction of the rights of those supporting and opposing doctrine and belief.

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