THE EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN GERMANY AND BELARUS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY

  • Oleg Schirinsky Belarussian State University

Abstract

Germany and Belarus are in a comparable position with regard to the religious landscape. Both countries have two large religious communities that decisively shape religious life. Relations between the state and the church also develop in a similar direction in both countries after the fall of the communist ideology and have the model of a cooperation relationship. Belarus as a young democracy, of course still needs time to get to European human rights standards, but Belarus can do well when it comes to ensuring freedom of religion. However, the article deals with the existing deficits in Belarusian administrative practice. Given that Belarus is still not a member of the Council of Europe and does not belong to the system of the European Convention on Human Rights, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights cannot be applied directly here. The legal practice of the mature German democratic state is therefore taken as a yardstick. According to the author of this article, the greatest need to catch up in Belarus compared to Germany is in the area of ensuring religious instruction in public schools and theology in higher education. In Belarus there is also a strict regulation for the establishment of new religious communities that do not belong to the four traditional denominations – Orthodox, Catholics, Jews and Muslims. In Germany, however, religious freedom applies indiscriminately to all religious communities. These and other differences are examined and compared in this article, which should contribute to a better understanding between Germany, the EU and the Council of Europe on the one hand and Belarus on the other. Although Belarus is not yet integrated into the pan-European institutional and legal area, the European perspective for the country does not have to be disregarded. Recently, intensive negotiations between Belarusian and European partners on the modalities of a possible accession of the Republic of Belarus to the Council of Europe have been conducted. Notably, Belarus has made two such applications for accession in recent years and considered the case law of the ECHR to be binding in some of the decisions of the Constitutional Court. The effective guarantee of religious freedom can bring Belarus even closer to Europe.

References

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Published
2020-06-25
How to Cite
SchirinskyO. (2020). THE EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN GERMANY AND BELARUS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY. Administrative Law and Process, (4(27), 88-101. https://doi.org/10.17721/2227-796X.2019.4.08
Section
Special administrative law