European Court of Human Rights

European Court of Human Rights Acquits Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

The first ruling on a complaint by Jehovah's Witnesses was issued by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) back in 1993. Since then, this authoritative body has adopted more than 50 decisions that protect the right of Jehovah's Witnesses to conduct worship services, spread beliefs, use religious literature, raise children in accordance with their beliefs, make their own decisions regarding treatment methods, and not take up arms for reasons of conscience and many other rights. In addition, the ECHR left no stone unturned against the common myths about Jehovah's Witnesses, recognizing as groundless the accusations of extremism, a threat to the security of the state and society, destruction of families, harm to the health of citizens and encroachment on their freedoms.

Although the judgments were made in relation to specific respondent states, they serve as legal guidance for the 46 countries of the Council of Europe within the jurisdiction of the ECtHR.

Some of the most interesting and substantive rulings in defense of religious freedoms have come from complaints by Jehovah's Witnesses against the Russian Federation. Below is a selection of publications on ECHR judgments.

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