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Registration of Religious Entities and Religious Autonomy in Romania—Old Limitations and New Challenges

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Abstract In January 2013, the Romanian Law on Religious Freedom and the General Status of Religious Denominations reached five years of implementation—the right time to assess the quality of the law, its fairness and enforceability, the way it responded to foreseeable challenges but, most importantly, to unexpected ones. Though, at the time of its adoption, law-makers, practitioners and religious denominations alike considered the law a working compromise doomed to be amended soon, no amendments were made so far. In spite of criticisms concerning the over-restrictive three tier system of registration for religious entities, voiced during the adoption process and subsequently, the biggest challenge for the law came however from a different direction through a little known case decided by the European Court of Human Rights in January 2012 and referred to the Grand Chamber in July 2012. The domestic proceedings as well as the chamber judgment in Sindicatul Păstorul Cel Bun v. Romania highlight that the principle of religious autonomy and the relation between state and Church still need to be defined and enforced in the Romanian context. 1

Affiliations: 1: Karl Franzens Universität Graz Austria


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