Religion, Education and Minorities in Europe: A Multilevel Legal Analysis

The relationship between religion and education is one of the core human rights issues tackled by the ECtHR, which has decided several cases, leading to the development of a set of legal principles. The principles of secularism, religious freedom, and their expression in the education field have driven the rulings of the ECtHR. Furthermore, the construction of a democratic society, the building of citizenship, and the children’s best interest are values taken into due consideration by the Court. However, on the domestic level, those concepts vary from country to country. As stated by the ECtHR, states may balance rights according to their respective legal and cultural tradition. In this regard, the difference between Italy and France is illustrative. This paper explores the legal framework of religion in education on both the European and the domestic levels. As a result, it evaluates critically the absence of European human rights standards concerning religion and education.