The Council of Europe is committed to a policy for the protection of rights mentioned in Article 2 of the additional protocol of the European Court of Human Rights to respect the rights of parents to ensure that their children are raised and educated in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.
The Parliamentary Assembly recalls Recommendations No. 1720 (2005) on “Education and religion”, No. 1396 (1999) on “Religion and democracy”, No. 1309 (2002) on “Freedom of religion and religious minorities in France”, No. 1928 (2013) on “Safeguarding human rights in relation to religion and belief and protecting religious communities from violence” (particularly paragraph 9.11), No. 1904 (2012) on “The right to freedom of choice in education in Europe”.
The Assembly has expressed concern regarding discrimination that may arise from unnecessary restrictions on the rights of parents to raise and educate their children in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.
The European Court of Human Rights has also ruled on this matter in many decisions, reinforcing the rights of parents to raise their children in conformity with their own convictions.
The Assembly finds that new religious movements and religious minorities are especially at risk regarding the infringement of these rights by some member States.
Derogatory labeling of religious minorities as ‘sects’, ‘sectarian’, ‘cults’ or any other term generates bias and stigmatization and lead to undue restrictions to a parent’s right to raise and educate their children in conformity with their own beliefs.
The Assembly therefore resolves to study and identify cases where member States do not respect the rights of parents to educate children according to their own religious and philosophical convictions, especially with regard to minorities.