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Religious Freedom And State Neutrality. The South African Experiment In Religious Rights

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Chapter Summary

The right to religious freedom is protected in most of the world's constitutions and enjoys protection in several international conventions such as the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, the American Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief. This chapter discusses the South African experiment in religious rights. It explains how the secular humanistic understanding of the human rights discourse by the Constitutional Court and the concept of the neutral state in South Africa has contributed to the secularization of South African society, even though the South African Constitution can be characterized as highly accommodative towards religions. Finally, the chapter presents some comments on redefining state neutrality.

Keywords: American convention; European Convention; human rights; religious freedom; religious rights; South African Constitution; state neutrality



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