Strasburg: Polish School Policy Against Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg has ruled six to one that by not offering ethics classes as an alternative to religious studies, Polish schools are going against the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The case against the Polish school system was brought on by Urszula and Czesław Grzelaków in 2002, who also sought 150,000 euro in damages that were not awarded. They claimed that their son, Mateusz, was discriminated when he opted not to attend religion classes. His school did not offer an ethics class, which is supposed to serve as an alternative to the religion class, nor was he supervised when not attending the class.

According to the court, the school broke the 9th and 14th articles of the Convention, which deal with freedom of though, conscience and religion, and discrimination, respectively. Though the case was decided in the Grzedlaków family’s favour, the court ruled that no compensation will be rewarded, stating that the recognition of violations of the Convention should be sufficient satisfaction.

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