Ensuring and protecting the religious liberty. Limits in exercising this right

Author:Ramona-Gabriela Paraschiv
Position:Doctoral university assistant, 'Dimitrie Cantemir' Christian University, Bucharest, Faculty of Law

Religious liberty, as an essential component of the freedom of thought, is guaranteed and is assured juridical protection not only by legal provisions adopted by the democratic states, but also by international regulations which comprise a regional or universal nature.

Paraschiv Ramona-Gabriela*
Religious liberty, as an essential component of the freedom of thought, is guaranteed and is assured
juridical protection not only by legal provisions adop ted by the democratic states, but also by internationa l
regulatio ns which comprise a r egional or universal na ture.
Key words: legal limits, religious liber ty, regula tions.
The liberty of religion belongs to the ca tegory of freedoms of thought, along with the freedom of thought
and the freedom of conscience.
These freedoms, along with the right to ga therings, the right of the par ents to be respected regar ding
their beliefs in child education and the liberty of expression, a cquired not only a n actual individual dimension
(having opinions and beliefs), but also a social and political one (expressing them), dimensions which are
absolutely char acteristic to the hu man rights
1, gua ranteed by th e state a nd the inter national o rganisms which
ensure their protection by specific methods.
Conceptual clarifications
Etymologically, the term “protection” comes from the Latin word “protectionis”, which means defense,
protection, shelter ing.
By juridical pr otection of the human rights, we actually mean an assembly of juridical norms and
concrete measures taken by t he states of the world in order to protect the human being, and, ipso facto, the
plenary affirmation of the spiritual and material human life, and by human rights, we make reference to all
which is claimed and permitted by man, in conformity with a social or juridical norm, from where the different
nature of these rights which find their basis not only in jus natur ale and in jus g entium, but also in the moral
conduct regulations accepted and practiced in a democratic society.2
The word “law” is the translation of jus”, which comes from the Sanskrit “jaos”, signifying something
requested or permitted in conformity with social-ethical norms. The Romans used this expression with the
meaning o f “saint”, “good”, but as time passed, this moral principle also acquired a juridical meaning, as the
term “justitia” comprised both a moral principle and a j uridical one.
The ancient relationship between law and ethics, between “right” and “good”, between law and religion
and based by the fact that, before the laicization of law, the serving of justice was made in the name of the
“sacred law”, implicitly assumed to be a direct emanation of the divine will3.
In the Romanian right from before the events of December 1 989 nobody spoke of “hum an rights”, but
only “citizen rights”4, after the juridical French model of thinking which was specif ic to the Revolution of 1789,
when the European religious “man” was replaced with one belo nging to a citadel in which “liberty, equality and
fraternity” should govern between the citizens” of the same social and political status.
The internationalization of the human rights was accomplished by the „Universal Declara tion of the
Human Rights5, according to which t hese rights belong to all individuals a s human beings, thus the vocation of
universality6. Subsequently, numerous international instruments were adopted by which the human rights are
guaranteed, including religio us liberty, and protection measures are bei ng established, thus giving birth to a
genuine branch of international law of the human rights.
Religious liberty in international regulations. Limits in exercising it
The Universal Declaratio n of Human Rights states that any man has a r ight to freedom of thought,
conscience and religion”, this includin g “the liberty to change one’s religion or belief, as well as the liberty to
* Doctoral university assistant, “Dimitrie Cantemir” Christian University, Bucharest, Faculty of Law, ramonaparaschiv@rocketmail.com.
1 Frédéric Sudre, Drept european şi internaional al drepturilor omului, Polirom Publishing House, 2006, p. 343.
2 Nicolae Dur, Drepturile şi libertile omului în gândirea juridic european, Official Romanian Patriarchy Bulletin, year CXXIV, no. 4-6,
April-June 2006, Bucharest, p. 327.
3 Nicolae Dur, Dreptul şi religia. Normele jur idice şi normele religios-morale, in the Annals of the Ovidius University, Series: Law and
Administrative Sciences, volume I, 2003, pp. 15-23, which show that in the time of Cuza Voda, “direptatea” was understood and defined as
“a sacred thing surpassing all others” according to the texts from the Great Pravila in Targoviste, from the year 1652.
4 Tudor Draganu, Drept constituional, Didactic and Pedagogical publishing, Bucharest, 1972, p. 209; Ioan Muraru, Drept constituional -
cetenia român şi drepturile fundamentale, CMUB, 1973, p. 35; Nicolae Prişca, Drept constituional, Didactic and Pedagogical publishing,
Bucharest, 1977, p. 207, etc.
5 Adopted on the 10th of December 1948, at the General Assembly resolution of UNO, no. 217A (III).
6 Ovidiu Petrescu, Convenia european a drepturilor omului şi dreptul penal român, Lumina Lex Publishing, Bucharest, 2006, p. 34.

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