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Ivanova v. Bulgaria, No. 52435/99, ECtHR (Fifth Section), 12 April 2007

Type Judgment
Case number 52435/99


The dismissal substantially motivated by the public employee's religious affiliation breaches article 9 of the ECHR.

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR


1. The limitations set out in Article 9 § 2 only relate to the freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief and not to the right to have a religion or belief. The right to deeply hold any belief (whether religious or not) and to change one’s religion or beliefs is an absolute and unconditional right; the State cannot interfere with it, for instance by dictating what a person believes or taking coercive steps to make him change his beliefs.

2. In order to determine whether there is interference with the right of religious freedom, in exercising its supervision, the Court must consider the interference complained of on the basis of the file as a whole and if need be, assess all the facts of the case and consider the sequence of events in their entirety, rather than as separate and distinct incidents. Only in this way it is possible to establish whether the real reason for which a measure such as the dismissal was adopted is the employee's religious affiliation.