Religious Actors and International Law

Autor Ioana Cismas
en Limba Engleză Hardback – 17 iul 2014
This book assesses whether a new category of religious actors has been constructed within international law. Religious actors, through their interpretations of the religion(s) they are associated with, uphold and promote, or indeed may transform, potentially oppressive structures or discriminatory patterns. This study moves beyond the concern that religious texts and practices may be incompatible with international law, to provide an innovative analysis of howreligious actors themselves are accountable under international law for the interpretations they choose to put forward.The book defines religious actors as comprising religious states, international organizations, and non-state entities that assume the role of interpreting religion and so claim a 'special' legitimacy anchored in tradition or charisma. Cutting across the state / non-state divide, this definition allows the full remit of religious bodies to be investigated. It analyses the crucial question of whether religious actors do in fact operate under different international legal norms to non-religiousstates, international organizations, or companies. To that end, the Holy See-Vatican, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and churches and religious organizations under the European Convention on Human Rights regime are examined in detail as case studies.The study ultimately establishes that religious actors cannot be seen to form an autonomous legal category under international law: they do not enjoy special or exclusive rights, nor incur lesser obligations, when compared to their respective non-religious peers. Going forward, it concludes that a process of two-sided legitimation may be at stake: religious actors will need to provide evidence for the legality of their religious interpretations to strengthen their legitimacy, and internationallaw itself may benefit from religious actors fostering its legitimacy in different cultural contexts.
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ISBN-13: 9780198712824
ISBN-10: 0198712820
Pagini: 378
Dimensiuni: 166 x 236 x 29 mm
Greutate: 0.73 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP Oxford
Locul publicării:Oxford, United Kingdom


Ioana Cismas tests the relationship between religious actors and their rights and obligations under international law in a most novel and compelling way. [A]n insightfully researched and very well written bookâ represents a stimulating addition to the literature on non-state actors and human rights. In the end, it is another strong recognition that the present rules of international law not only regulate the behaviour of states, but also many other entitiesparticipating in the international sphere.
Overall, this book is a welcome and refreshing addition to the growing literature on religion and human rights. Human rights activists, diplomats, and scholars would benefit from paying more attention to religious actors and the ways to hold them accountable to international human rights law, rather than engaging in exegetical debates with them on the right way to interpret religious texts.
This book makes an invaluable contribution to the growing scholarship in this field. It takes us beyond debate about whether religious doctrines-practices are compatible with international law, the classification of religious actors as essentially private entities, and the classical focus on the special rights associated with religion. In a set of meticulous case studies, the book proposes that religious actors do not form an autonomous category in internationallaw, but are subject to norms also applicable to non-religious entities. Cismas is to be applauded for the innovative and challenging thesis that the best defence of their autonomy is to embrace human rights in their own internal governance and life in order to operate in a legitimate way in societyand under international law.

Notă biografică

Ioana Cismas is Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law. Prior to moving to NYU she was the Coordinator of the Law Clinic at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and an OHCHR consultant to the UN Special Rapporteur on transitional justice. She was previously a researcher at the Geneva Academy focusing on the intersection of economic, social and cultural rights and civil and politicalrights. She provided legal and policy expertise to various stakeholders, including the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and acted as legal adviser to a member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. While in Switzerland she focused on corporate complicity in internationalcrimes and humanitarian engagement of non-state actors while working in research institutions and non-governmental organizations.