Religious freedom 113
A III), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights13, which enshrines freedom of
thought, conscience and religion:
Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this
right includes the freedom to change religion or belief, as well as the freedom to manifest
their religion or belief, either alone or with others, both publicly and privately, through
teaching, religious practices, worship and the fulfillment of rites .
This statement is the most important landmark of the field, being a common
ideal to which all peoples and nations of the world must strive. In its final form,
this document enshrines freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Concerns on human rights and religious freedoms are also present in several
regional intergovernmental organizations, such as the Council of Europe (EC) and
the European Union (EU). The Council of Europe is a supranational political
intergovernmental and parliamentary political organization founded after the
Second World War on May 5, 1949, at the initiative of ten states (Belgium, Denmark,
France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, The United Kingdom and Sweden)
with a view to achieving a „closer union among its members in order to defend
and promote the ideals and principles that constitute their common heritage and to
foster economic and social progress”. Thus, the first European-style organization
was born by signing its Statute in Strasbourg and entered into force on 3 August
194914. The principles declared in the statute refer to pluralist democracy, the rule
of law and respect for human rights. Romania became a member of the Council of
Europe in October 1993, through Law no. 64 of 4 October 1993, published in the
Official Gazette no. 238 of October 4, 1993.
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
adopted in Rome on 4 November 1950 and entered into force on 3 September 1953,
restates the basic principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Due to its importance and relevance, we read the text of Article 9 of this
Article 9: Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion15
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right
includes the freedom to change religion or beliefs and the freedom to manifest their religion
or belief individually or collectively, in public or in particular, through cult, education,
practice, and ritual fulfillment.
2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall not be subject to restrictions other
than those provided for by law which, in a democratic society, constitute measures necessary
for public security, the protection of order, health, public morals, the freedoms of others.
13 Centre pour les droits Genève, Droits de l’homme, Recueil d’instruments internationaux, Nations
Unies, New York, 1988.
14 Prof. Univ. Irina Moroianu Zlatescu, Dr. Radu C. Demetrescu, European Institutional Law and
Community Policies, Calistrat Hogaş Publishing House, Bucharest, 2001, p. 30.
15 Irina Moroianu Zltescu, For a Culture of Peace, Democracy and Tolerance in Romania, Vol. II, Editorial
House „Calistrat Hogaş”, Bucharest, 2000, p. 166.