By The Next Wider | 04.24.2016 | 17:00 GMTA recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights has prompted a new debate over the role of religion in society and has been the subject of much public debate.
According to the ruling, Russia’s laws do not provide for the protection of atheists and the nonbeliever in Russia, but they do provide for certain protection for religious believers.
In a statement on the decision, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said: “Russia is not a country that guarantees religious liberty and equal rights to all, but it does protect those who adhere to religious beliefs and practices and who are deemed to have a genuine religious faith.
The court’s ruling makes it clear that religious belief does not trump freedom of expression and association.”
This is a clear signal that Russia is not ready to embrace the idea of religious freedom in the country.
The ruling reaffirms the importance of protecting freedom of speech, association and religion.
In addition, it reinforces Russia’s commitment to protecting the rights of non-religious citizens, especially non-Christians.”HRW said the ruling also “underscores the need for greater support for religious minorities, including those who practise nontheism, in Russia”.
The group called for Russia to “strengthen protection of nontheists, atheists and others who do not follow traditional beliefs or practices” and to implement a ban on discrimination against nontheist citizens and to repeal laws that discriminate against atheists.
The European Court’s decision came as Russia faced a nationwide anti-Christian protest that resulted in the arrest of more than 50 people.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government said the protests were “violent” and the country would take measures to prevent such acts.
The ruling comes a day after Russia’s Parliament passed a law to ban all public gatherings in the Russian capital, which also bans all public activities and gatherings that take place outside the capital.
Russian law also requires that all public rallies must be authorised by a government authority, and is intended to ensure a level playing field for those who do organise and promote religious events.