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Religions and Human Rights

University of Padova, April 14-15, 2016

Sala delle Edicole – Piazza Capitaniato, 3
University Human Rights Centre – via Martiri della Libertà, 2

The relationship between religion and human rights is controversial and debated. The aim of the international conference is to take stock of the complex connections between religion and human rights, emphasizing that both the definition and the application of these two concepts are influenced by the different social and cultural contexts within which they are placed.

Starting from the geopolitical changes which have involved contemporary society on a global scale, the conference intends to critically evaluate the two main narratives on this topic: on the one hand religions understood as an element opposing the affirmation of human rights, and on the other religions considered as agencies facilitating the implementation of human rights. Religious rights, understood as individual and/or collective rights, are disputed as well.

How do religious traditions and new religious communities approach human rights issues? How do states manage religious traditions and religious diversification? How are human rights discourses and practices affected by the social context?


Thursday April 14th
Morning session: Sala delle Edicole

9.15: Welcome Addresses

Rosario Rizzuto, Rector of the University of Padova

Marco Mascia, Director of the University Human Rights Centre

Adam Possamai, Western Sydney University

Giuseppe Giordan, Coordinator of the Joint PhD Programme


9.30-12.30: Plenary Session 1, Sala delle Edicole

Religions and Human Rights: A Theoretical Frame

Chair: Siniša Zrinščak, University of Zagreb

Silvio Ferrari, University of Milano, Human Rights vs. Religious Rights. An Unavoidable

James Richardson, University of Nevada, Managing Religious Freedom: Some Case Studies

Eileen Barker, London School of Economics, Whose Rights Trump Whose Rights? New Religious Movements and Competing Human Rights

Enzo Pace, University of Padova, Can Religions Play a ‘Progressive’ Role in Advancing Human Rights?

Afternoon Session: University Human Rights Centre
14.00- 15.45: Parallel Session 1 (Library)

The Legal Status of Religious Minorities: Exploring the Impact of the European Court of Human Rights

Chair: Effie Fokas, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP); Research Associate, Hellenic Observatory, LSE

Dia Anagnostou, Panteion University, ELIAMEP, and Effie Fokas, ELIAMEP, LSE, The ‘Radiating Effects’ of the European Court of Human Rights on Social Mobilisations around Religion in Europe – An Analytical Frame

Margarita Markoviti, ELIAMEP, The ‘Filtering’ Effect of ECtHR Case Law on Religious Freedoms: Legal Recognition and Places of Worship for Religious Minorities in Greece

Alberta Giorgi, CES, Coimbra, ELIAMEP, and Pasquale Annicchino, ELIAMEP, European University Institute, The Legal Status and Strategic Action of Religious Minorities in Italy: Localized Human Rights

Mihai Popa, ELIAMEP, Max Planck Institute, and Liviu Andreescu, University of Bucharest, In Search of Full Recognition: National Regulations, ECtHR Case Law, and The Recognition of Religious Groups in Post-socialist Romania

Ceren Ozgul, ELIAMEP, New York University, Legal Status as Religious Freedom: The ECtHR and Legal Mobilization among Turkey’s non-Muslims

14.00- 15.45: Parallel Session 2, University Human Rights Centre (Room Iqbal Masih)

Religious Minorities

Chair: Eileen Barker, London School of Economics

Max Regus, University of Tilburg, Defining a Triple Fragility of Human Rights in Contemporary Indonesia

Frane Stanicic, University of Zagreb, The Differences in Legal Status of Religious Communities in the Republic of Croatia

Elisabetta Di Giovanni, University of Palermo, Religion in Borderscapes. Human Rights and Religiosity among Roma Communities in Italy

Hafsa Oubou, Northwestern University, Illinois, Religious Conversion in an Age of Transnational Human Rights

Ringo Ringvee, University of Tartu, Banning Burqas – Protecting Whom?

16.15-18.00: Parallel Session 3, University Human Rights Centre (Library)

Religion and Gender

Chair: Lori Beaman, University of Ottawa

Brigitta Kalmar, University College Cork, Woman's Rights in Motion: Tibetan Buddhism in Exile

Mary Nyangweso, East Carolina University, Negotiating Individual and Cultural Rights: Challenges Women Face in the 21st Century

Mauro Saccol, University of Genova, The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Women’s Rights.

Justice Richard Kwabena Owusu Kyei, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Gendered Citizenship within African Initiated Churches in Europe: The Case of Ghanaian Churches in Amsterdam

Shanon Shah, William Temple Foundation, London School of Economics and Political Science, Religion versus Human Rights? The Experiences of Gay Muslims in Malaysia and Britain

16.15-18.00: Parallel Session 4, University Human Rights Centre (Room Iqbal Masih)

Religions and Human Rights: Frames and Definitions

Chair: Paolo de Stefani, University of Padova

Sussan Shiavoshi, Trinity University, San Antonio, Human Rights and Traditional Islamic Jurisprudence

Ahmet Erdi Öztürk, Ljubljana University, and Serhat Ozgokceler, Uludag University, Turkey’s Diyanet: A Very Handy State Apparatus

Roberto Scalon, University of Torino, Defining and Defending Human Rights: the Problem of the Public Violence

Marco Guglielmi, University of Padova, Human Rights and Orthodox Christianity. Key Issues for a Social Scientific Study

Marie Juul Petersen, Danish Institute for Human Rights, “We Agree on 90 Percent”: Perceptions of Human Rights in Muslim Civil Society Organisations

Friday April 15th

Morning Session: University Human Rights Centre
9.00-10.45: Parallel Session 5, Library

Democracy, Citizenship and Values

Chair: Elena Pariotti, University of Padova

Catherine Renshaw, Western Sydney University, Bridging the Schism between Human Rights and Religion in Southeast Asia: An Argument for the Primacy of Deliberative Democracy

Mónica Ibáñez Angulo, University of Burgos, Cultural Citizenship and Religious Diversity

Olga Breskaya, European Humanities University, and Milda Ališauskienė, Vytautas Magnus University, The Attitudes of Belarusian and Lithuanian Young People toward The Civil and Political Rights: A Comparative Analysis

Julia Mink, University of Göttingen, Deconstruction of the Secular State: The “Pluralist System of State Churches” in Hungary

Joseph Tham, Pontificio Ateneo Regina Apostolorum, Roma, Natural Law and Global Bioethics

9.00-10.45: Parallel session 6, University Human Rights Centre (Room Iqbal Masih)

European Court of Human Rights and Religions

Chair: Stelios Perrakis, Panteion University

Melanie Adrian, Carleton University, Ottawa, Religious Freedom Curtailed: Dignity, Equality and Islam at the European Court of Human Rights

Roberta Medda, European Academy Bozen, The Contribution of the European Court of Human Rights to the Accommodation of Contemporary Religious Diversity

Christos Tsevas, University of Strasbourg, Democritus University of Thrace, The Notion of “Living Together”: Navigating from S.A.S. v. France to The Nexus of Human Rights and Religions

Marcella Ferri, University of Bergamo, The Expression of Religious Identity in The Public Sphere: The Jurisprudence of The European Court of Human Rights

Eva Maria Lassen, Danish Institute for Human Rights, The EU, The State and Religion

11.15-13.00: Parallel Session 7, University Human Rights Centre (Library)

Religions, Media, and Education

Chair: Adam Possamai, Western Sydney University

Magdalena Ratajczak, University of Wroclaw, Religious Conversations. Media and Religions

Carlo Nardella, University of Milano, Commercial Advertising and Human Rights Discourse

Heini Skorini, University of London, Don't Attack my Religion! The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Struggle to Define International Free Speech Norms

Matteo Tracchi, Amnesty International, Back to Basics: Restoring Human Dignity and Addressing Extremism through Human Rights Education. A European Perspective

Petru-Lucian Cirlan, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne, Religion and Human Rights in Orthodox Countries State and Church Relation in Romania and Russia

11.15-13.00: Parallel Session 8, University Human Rights Centre (Room Iqbal Masih)

Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue

Chair: Léonce Bekemans, University of Padova

Fred A. Lazin, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, NYU, A Jewish-Christian Alliance for Human Rights: The Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry 1972-1988

Victoria Martìn De La Torre, Press Officer, European Parliament, Towards an Interreligious Understanding of Human Rights: A Comparative Analysis of Freedom of Conscience in Jacques Maritain and Fethullah Gülen

Adnan Yaman, International Burch University, Sarajevo, The Hizmet Movement and Human Rights

Roberta Ricucci, University of Torino, Updating The Framework: How Local Institutions Interact with Young Muslims Discussing Religious Issues. Notes from a Catholic Country

Desirée Campagna, University of Padova, The (Inter) Religious Role of Museums: A Possible Interpretation of The Exhibitions of The Musée de Civilisation de L’Europe et de La Méditerranée (Mucem)

Afternoon Session: Sala delle Edicole
14.30-17.30: Plenary Session 2

Religions and Human Rights: An Empirical Approach

Chair: Giuseppe Giordan, University of Padova

Lori Beaman, University of Ottawa, A Conversion Experience: Prayer as Culture and Heritage

Hans-Georg Ziebertz, University of Wuerzburg, Human Dignity as Foundation of Human Rights. An Empirical Exploration

Leslie Francis, University of Warwick, Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Religious clothing

Willy Fautré, Human Rights Without Frontiers International, Islamic Minorities, a New Global Challenge to Religious Freedom


For more information: ma.humanrights@unipd.it