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Sahin v. Turkey

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International Law Keyed to Damrosche

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. Eur. Ct. of Human Rights, App. No. 44774/98, 44 Eur. H.R. Rep. 99 (2005)

Brief Fact Summary. A Turkish Muslim by the name Sahin (P) alleged that the Republic of Turkey (D) violated her rights and freedom under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by banning the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in institutions of higher education.


Synopsis of Rule of Law. Students rights and freedom under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are not violated when a secular country places a ban on wearing religious clothing in institutions of higher education.


Facts. Sahin (P) had a traditional background of family practicing Muslims and considered it her religious duty to wear the Islamic headscarf. When she was in her 5th year at the faculty of medicine of the University of Istanbul in 1998, the Vice-Chancellor of the University issued a circular which stipulated that students with beards and wearing the Islamic headscarf would be refused admission to lectures, courses and tutorials. Sahin (P) was denied access to a written exam and the University authorities refused to enroll her in a course and to admit her to various lectures and other written exams because of the Islamic headscarf she was putting on. She later left the University to further her studies in Vienna and had lived in Vienna since then. Before leaving Istanbul, Sahin (P) filed an application against the Republic of Turkey (P) with the European Commission of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms alleging that her rights and freedom under the Convention had been violated. A judgment was rendered by the European Court after it heard the case.


Issue. Are students’ rights and freedom under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms violated when a secular country places a ban on the wearing of religious clothing in institutions of higher learning?


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