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En avslöjande skola? - En utredning om Europakonventionens skydd för religiöst betingad klädsel i skolan

Berg, Lina LU (2010) JURM01 20101
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
I januari 2009 fick en student vid ett vuxengymnasium i Tensta besked om att hon inte tilläts bära niqab i skolan. Niqaben, som är en heltäckande slöja där endast ögonen är synliga, medförde enligt skolan pedagogiska svårigheter såväl som säkerhetsrisker. Händelsen anmäldes till Diskrimineringsombudsmannen och studenten tilläts gå kvar på skolan i väntan på myndighetens beslut. Frågan om dylika heltäckande slöjor har den senaste tiden debatterats flitigt runt om i Europa och det råder ingen tvekan om ämnets aktualitet. Händelsen ger upphov till flera intressanta spörsmål, inte minst ur ett människorättsperspektiv. I denna uppsats avser jag utreda hur ett eventuellt förbud mot heltäckande slöja i den svenska skolan skulle vara förenligt med... (More)
I januari 2009 fick en student vid ett vuxengymnasium i Tensta besked om att hon inte tilläts bära niqab i skolan. Niqaben, som är en heltäckande slöja där endast ögonen är synliga, medförde enligt skolan pedagogiska svårigheter såväl som säkerhetsrisker. Händelsen anmäldes till Diskrimineringsombudsmannen och studenten tilläts gå kvar på skolan i väntan på myndighetens beslut. Frågan om dylika heltäckande slöjor har den senaste tiden debatterats flitigt runt om i Europa och det råder ingen tvekan om ämnets aktualitet. Händelsen ger upphov till flera intressanta spörsmål, inte minst ur ett människorättsperspektiv. I denna uppsats avser jag utreda hur ett eventuellt förbud mot heltäckande slöja i den svenska skolan skulle vara förenligt med två centrala regleringar i Europakonventionen (EKMR). Förbudets konventionsenlighet har utretts mot bakgrund av regleringen om religionsfrihet i artikel 9 och regleringen om rätten till undervisning i artikel 2 i konventionens första tilläggsprotokoll.

I uppsatsen undersöks rättigheternas omfattning och innebörd, för att slutligen fastslå under vilka förutsättningar man kan inskränka dessa. Tonvikten ligger dock på regleringen om religionsfrihet. Utredningen har främst bedrivits genom att tolka Europakonventionens reglering med hjälp av praxis och doktrin på området. Även exempel ur praxis från nationella domstolar har begagnats då prövning skett utifrån konventionens reglering. Då det är knappt med underlag gällande svenska förhållanden, har bedömningen i denna del till stor del utgått från Skolverkets utredningar på området.

Vad gäller religionsfriheten har i praxis historiskt sett uppställts vissa krav på en religiös manifestation, för att den ska anses utgöra ett utövande av religionsfriheten enligt artikel 9(2) och därmed omfattas av artikel 9. Kraven har bl.a. bestått i att manifestationen ska vara intimt förknippad med religionen och en nödvändig del i utövningen av denna. När det gäller religiösa kläder och symboler har dock dessa kommit att få en särställning i senare konventionspraxis. Europadomstolen tillämpar här inte dylika krav i samma utsträckning, utan har i stället tenderat att antaga att klaganden genom bärandet av sin religiösa klädsel utövar sin religionsfrihet, på det sätt som avses i artikel 9. Samma tillvägagångssätt har i princip använts gällande rätten till utbildning.

När det gäller religionsfrihetens innebörd har i både praxis och doktrin diskuterats om denna ger en rätt att utöva sin religion på vilken tid och plats man själv önskar. Generellt har ansetts att så inte är fallet, utan den som samtycker till en viss förbudsregel, vilken kommer begränsa möjligheten till religionsutövning, har befunnits inte kunna åberopa skyddet i artikel 9 på samma sätt som om samtycke inte givits. Likaledes har framhållits att artikel 9 endast skyddar mot inskränkningar som gör att man nekas rätten att utöva sin religion överhuvudtaget. Om en student t.ex. inte tillåts bära slöja på sin skola skulle då artikel 9 inte aktualiseras om studenten kan byta till en likvärdig skola där denna får bäras. Detsamma har i princip ansetts vara fallet vad gäller rätten till utbildning, som då endast skulle bli aktuell för det fall klaganden generellt kan anses ha nekats utbildning. Dessa principer har förvisso i relativt ny praxis tillämpats flitigt av engelska domstolar vid prövning under EKMR, men gällande religiösa symboler har de ännu inte anammats av Europadomstolen. Att domstolen även fortsättningsvis utan vidare kommer finna regleringen om religionsfriheten och rätten till utbildning tillämplig, för att i stället pröva om inskränkningen kan berättigas av någon anledning, är på grund härav högst sannolikt.

Min slutsats, för det fall ett svenskt förbud mot heltäckande slöja skulle komma under Europadomstolens prövning, är att domstolen sannolikt hade funnit detta konventionsstridigt både under artikel 9 och artikel 2 tilläggsprotokoll 1. Förbudet hade kunnat angripas redan vid frågan om lagstöd eftersom ett sådant inte kan anses ha funnits vid tiden för tillämpningen av detta. Med bakgrund av den svenska separationen mellan stat och kyrka och den religiösa indifferensen som råder nationellt skulle det skönsmässiga utrymmet, vilket ansetts vara relativt stort inom ramen för artikel 9, bli mycket litet för Sverige. Förbudet skulle troligtvis heller aldrig kunna uppfylla kravet på nödvändighet, särskilt med tanke på att heltäckande slöja är extremt sällsynt i landet. Då en inskränkning aldrig kan bli tillåten under artikel 2 i första tilläggsprotokollet om den samtidigt innebär en kränkning av en annan konventionsrättighet, kommer inte heller inskränkningen i rätten till utbildning vara tillåten under konventionen. (Less)
Abstract
In January of 2009 a student at an upper secondary school for adults in Tensta was informed that she was not allowed to wear a niqab to school. According to the school board, the niqab, which is a full veil that leaves only the eyes fully visible, implied both security risks as well as pedagogical difficulties. The incident was reported to the Equality Ombudsman, and awaiting the Ombudsman’s decision, the school let the student proceed with her studies wearing the niqab. The full veil has recently been subject of much debate all across Europe and there is no doubt about the topicality of the matter. The event in Tensta gives rise to interesting questions, especially from a human rights perspective. In this thesis I set out to inquire how a... (More)
In January of 2009 a student at an upper secondary school for adults in Tensta was informed that she was not allowed to wear a niqab to school. According to the school board, the niqab, which is a full veil that leaves only the eyes fully visible, implied both security risks as well as pedagogical difficulties. The incident was reported to the Equality Ombudsman, and awaiting the Ombudsman’s decision, the school let the student proceed with her studies wearing the niqab. The full veil has recently been subject of much debate all across Europe and there is no doubt about the topicality of the matter. The event in Tensta gives rise to interesting questions, especially from a human rights perspective. In this thesis I set out to inquire how a ban on full veils in school would be compatible with some relevant provisions in the European convention (ECHR), namely the freedom of religion in article 9 and the right to education in article 2 of the first protocol.

Throughout the thesis I examine the scope and implications of these rights, to be able to draw a conclusion as to under what conditions the rights in question can be restricted under the Convention. However, the main emphasis is on the provision regarding freedom of religion. The analysis is primarily based on the different prominent interpretations of the Convention and a study of relevant case-law and legal doctrine. Case-law is not limited to that under the European court of human rights (ECtHR), but also some illustrative examples from national case-law have been applied as far as these are concerned with the regulations under the ECHR. Since legal basis in Sweden is rather sparse in this area, the inquiry concerning Swedish conditions is mainly focused on reports and decisions issued by the National Agency of Education.

Regarding freedom of religion, history has shown that the ECtHR has established some requirements that have to be met in order for a religious practice to be considered a manifestation of religion within the meaning of 9(2) and, consequently, be protected under article 9. These requirements have included, inter alia, that a certain practice must be intimately linked with the religion in question and be a necessary part of the manifestation of that religion. However, when it comes to religious symbols and clothing, this tends to hold a unique position in more recent ECHR case-law. In this area, the ECtHR does not apply the above mentioned requirements to the same extent as when it comes to other religious practices. Instead, the Court has lately had a tendency to assume that the applicant, by wearing religious attire, has in fact manifested their religion within the meaning of article 9. The same approach can be discerned regarding the right to education.

Concerning the practical implications of freedom of religion, there has been, in both courts and related jurisprudence, some debate whether or not article 9 confers a right to manifest one’s religion at any time and place of one’s own choosing. For the most part this has been deemed not to be the case. A person who consents to a certain rule of conduct, that in turn will limit that persons possibilities to manifest their religion, has been considered not to be able to invoke their rights under article 9 to the same extent as would be the case had consent to the rule in question never been given. Likewise, it has been declared that article 9 will only be applicable in those cases where the claimant has been unable to manifest their religion at all. Thus, if a student is prohibited from wearing a veil at school, article 9 cannot be invoked by that student as long as there are other alternative schools available, where she could wear such religious attire. Generally this has been the case concerning the right to education as well, where an infringement of this right could only be asserted if the claimant has been unable to obtain education from the system as a whole. Notwithstanding the fact that the above mentioned principles have been frequently applied by English courts in rather recent case-law, they have yet to be adopted by the ECtHR concerning religious attire. Considering this, it is highly likely that the ECtHR also in the future will assume that the provisions on religious freedom and right to education are applicable on the circumstances of the case, and then turn their attention to 9(2) and inquire into possible justifications for the limitation at hand.

If hypothetically a Swedish ban on full veils would be subject to judicial review in the ECtHR, my conclusion is that it is likely that the Court would render the ban illegal from a Convention point of view. The illegality would concern article 9 and article 2 of the first protocol alike. The ban would be assailable as soon as the question of the legal basis for the prohibition was brought up, since at the time of the enforcement of the ban in question, this could not be considered prescribed by law. Having in mind the separation of church and state and the prevailing religious indifference nationally, the margin of appreciation, which has said to be rather broad within the ambit of article 9, would be very limited for Sweden. Furthermore, bearing in mind the rareness of the full veil in the country, the ban would probably not be able to meet the requirement of necessity set out in 9(2). Since a restriction can never be upheld under article 2 of the first protocol if the same restriction would amount to an infringement of another right protected under the ECHR, the ban will therefore also be unlawful regarding the right to education. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Berg, Lina LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Unveiling the school? - An inquiry under the European Convention regarding the protection of religious attire in school
course
JURM01 20101
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
religious practices, religiösa sedvänjor, full veil, veil, headscarf, religiös klädsel, religious attire, europakonventionen, rätten till utbildning, religionsfrihet, hijab, huvudduk, burca, burka, burqa, nicab, nikab, niqab, heltäckande slöja, slöja, slöjförbud, Alia Khalifa, statsrätt, international law, internationell rätt, EU-rätt, EU law, förvaltningsrätt, MR, religious symbols, religiösa symboler, Leyla Sahin, Shabina Begum, Senay Karaduman, religion, EKMR, European Convention, article 9, artikel 9, forum internum, forum externum, diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO, minervaskolan, burgårdens gymnasieskola, västerorts vuxengymnasium, ICCPR, mänskliga rättigheter
language
Swedish
id
1693790
date added to LUP
2010-10-21 09:09:14
date last changed
2010-10-21 09:09:14
@misc{1693790,
  abstract     = {In January of 2009 a student at an upper secondary school for adults in Tensta was informed that she was not allowed to wear a niqab to school. According to the school board, the niqab, which is a full veil that leaves only the eyes fully visible, implied both security risks as well as pedagogical difficulties. The incident was reported to the Equality Ombudsman, and awaiting the Ombudsman’s decision, the school let the student proceed with her studies wearing the niqab. The full veil has recently been subject of much debate all across Europe and there is no doubt about the topicality of the matter. The event in Tensta gives rise to interesting questions, especially from a human rights perspective. In this thesis I set out to inquire how a ban on full veils in school would be compatible with some relevant provisions in the European convention (ECHR), namely the freedom of religion in article 9 and the right to education in article 2 of the first protocol. 

Throughout the thesis I examine the scope and implications of these rights, to be able to draw a conclusion as to under what conditions the rights in question can be restricted under the Convention. However, the main emphasis is on the provision regarding freedom of religion. The analysis is primarily based on the different prominent interpretations of the Convention and a study of relevant case-law and legal doctrine. Case-law is not limited to that under the European court of human rights (ECtHR), but also some illustrative examples from national case-law have been applied as far as these are concerned with the regulations under the ECHR. Since legal basis in Sweden is rather sparse in this area, the inquiry concerning Swedish conditions is mainly focused on reports and decisions issued by the National Agency of Education. 

Regarding freedom of religion, history has shown that the ECtHR has established some requirements that have to be met in order for a religious practice to be considered a manifestation of religion within the meaning of 9(2) and, consequently, be protected under article 9. These requirements have included, inter alia, that a certain practice must be intimately linked with the religion in question and be a necessary part of the manifestation of that religion. However, when it comes to religious symbols and clothing, this tends to hold a unique position in more recent ECHR case-law.  In this area, the ECtHR does not apply the above mentioned requirements to the same extent as when it comes to other religious practices. Instead, the Court has lately had a tendency to assume that the applicant, by wearing religious attire, has in fact manifested their religion within the meaning of article 9. The same approach can be discerned regarding the right to education.  

Concerning the practical implications of freedom of religion, there has been, in both courts and related jurisprudence, some debate whether or not article 9 confers a right to manifest one’s religion at any time and place of one’s own choosing. For the most part this has been deemed not to be the case. A person who consents to a certain rule of conduct, that in turn will limit that persons possibilities to manifest their religion, has been considered not to be able to invoke their rights under article 9 to the same extent as would be the case had consent to the rule in question never been given. Likewise, it has been declared that article 9 will only be applicable in those cases where the claimant has been unable to manifest their religion at all. Thus, if a student is prohibited from wearing a veil at school, article 9 cannot be invoked by that student as long as there are other alternative schools available, where she could wear such religious attire. Generally this has been the case concerning the right to education as well, where an infringement of this right could only be asserted if the claimant has been unable to obtain education from the system as a whole. Notwithstanding the fact that the above mentioned principles have been frequently applied by English courts in rather recent case-law, they have yet to be adopted by the ECtHR concerning religious attire. Considering this, it is highly likely that the ECtHR also in the future will assume that the provisions on religious freedom and right to education are applicable on the circumstances of the case, and then turn their attention to 9(2) and inquire into possible justifications for the limitation at hand. 

If hypothetically a Swedish ban on full veils would be subject to judicial review in the ECtHR, my conclusion is that it is likely that the Court would render the ban illegal from a Convention point of view. The illegality would concern article 9 and article 2 of the first protocol alike. The ban would be assailable as soon as the question of the legal basis for the prohibition was brought up, since at the time of the enforcement of the ban in question, this could not be considered prescribed by law. Having in mind the separation of church and state and the prevailing religious indifference nationally, the margin of appreciation, which has said to be rather broad within the ambit of article 9, would be very limited for Sweden. Furthermore, bearing in mind the rareness of the full veil in the country, the ban would probably not be able to meet the requirement of necessity set out in 9(2). Since a restriction can never be upheld under article 2 of the first protocol if the same restriction would amount to an infringement of another right protected under the ECHR, the ban will therefore also be unlawful regarding the right to education.},
  author       = {Berg, Lina},
  keyword      = {religious practices,religiösa sedvänjor,full veil,veil,headscarf,religiös klädsel,religious attire,europakonventionen,rätten till utbildning,religionsfrihet,hijab,huvudduk,burca,burka,burqa,nicab,nikab,niqab,heltäckande slöja,slöja,slöjförbud,Alia Khalifa,statsrätt,international law,internationell rätt,EU-rätt,EU law,förvaltningsrätt,MR,religious symbols,religiösa symboler,Leyla Sahin,Shabina Begum,Senay Karaduman,religion,EKMR,European Convention,article 9,artikel 9,forum internum,forum externum,diskrimineringsombudsmannen,DO,minervaskolan,burgårdens gymnasieskola,västerorts vuxengymnasium,ICCPR,mänskliga rättigheter},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {En avslöjande skola? - En utredning om Europakonventionens skydd för religiöst betingad klädsel i skolan},
  year         = {2010},
}