Tuesday, June 30, 2020

European Court Says Greece Should Not Have Indicated Non-Christening On Birth Record

In Stavropoulos and others v. Greece, (ECHR, June 25, 2020), the European Court of Human Rights, in a Chamber Judgment, held that Greece violated the religious freedom rights of parents when when their child's first name was entered into the birth record with an abbreviation in brackets next to it indicating that the parents had not christened the child.  The court, finding a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, said in part:
[T]he Court shares the applicants’ view that the note “naming” next to the third applicant’s first name carries a connotation, namely that she was not christened and that her name was given by the civil act of naming. That conclusion is further reinforced by the section concerning christening that is included in the birth registration act which ... has been left blank. Such information appearing in a public document issued by the State constitutes an interference with the right of all of the applicants not to be obliged to manifest their beliefs, which is inherent in the notion of freedom of religion and conscience as protected by Article 9 of the Convention. That is because it implies that the first and second applicants, as the parents and legal guardians of the third applicant, chose not to have the third applicant christened.
The court awarded damages of €10,000, plus costs, to petitioners.