DRAWING THE LINE BETWEEN PROPER AND IMPROPER PROSELYTISM: THE RIGHT TO ATTEMPT TO CONVINCE ONE’S NEIGHBOR IN EUROPE
This paper analyzes the legality of restrictions to the practice of proselytism, the attempt to convert people to one’s own religion. This issue has caused great controversy during the preparation of human rights instruments and national laws – especially considering that some religions do not accept the right to change one’s religion while others have the duty to proselytize as one of their most sacred tenets.
As the clashes between different cultures and religions gradually increase in the twenty-first century, international courts have an important role in establishing limits to such practices so that people and States can properly regulate their conduct. The approach adopted by the author to analyse the legality of proselitism and of its restrictions was the examination of the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) jurisprudence, alongside bibliographic and documentary research aiming to investigate and explain the criteria adopted to restrict such right. The ECHR’s choice by the author is based on the fact that it has a vast jurisprudence on the matter, contrary to other international human rights courts.
Each paradigmatic case provides some criteria that, if put together, allow the setting of a framework on the legality of State restrictions to proselitism – even though the Court never clearly established such a framework. After deriving the criteria for the restriction from the decisions, this article concludes that the validity of its restrictions depends upon diverse circumstantial variables primarily relating to the potential for coercion of the message’s receiver. Some aspects regarding the limitations to the right to proselytize, however, remain unanswered.
Declaro(amos) ainda que o trabalho é original e que não está sendo considerado para publicação em outra revista, quer seja no formato impresso ou no eletrônico.
Temos ciência de que a revista se reserva o direito de efetuar nos originais alterações de ordem normativa, ortográfica e gramatical com vistas a manter o padrão culto da língua, respeitando, contudo, o estilo dos autores e que os originais não serão devolvidos aos autores.