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WEBINAR INVITATION: “Freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression”

Freedom of Belief Initiative invites you for a discussion on “Freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression" with Assoc. Prof. of Constitutional Law Tolga Şirin and OSCE/ODIHR Advisor Đermana Šeta on Thursday 11th February 2021, at 19.00 (GMT+3). Registration is required.

Date: 11 February 2021, Thursday
Time 19.00-20.30 (GMT+3)

The event will be in Turkish and English and there will be simultaneous translation from Turkish to English and English to Turkish.

Please fill in the form to register for the event till 11 February 2021, 12.00 (GMT+3).

Information and link of the Zoom meeting will be sent to registered participants before the event.

Freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion are fundamental rights protected by international human rights conventions but sometimes considered conflicting with each other. However, these two rights are indivisible and interdependent. Therefore, it is essential to discuss these two fundamental rights together to identify the problems at the intersection of freedom of expression and freedom of religion for religious or belief communities, in the world and in Turkey, and to develop solutions compatible with human rights law.

With this aim, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tolga Şirin from Marmara University Department of Constitutional Law will address the issues at the intersection of freedom of expression and freedom of belief and the scope and limits of these rights. Đermana Šeta, OSCE/ODIHR[1] Advisor on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, will discuss how Muslims and other religious communities are affected by hate speech, hate crimes and discriminatory practices and how to tackle these problems. The webinar will be moderated by Dr. Mine Yıldırım, Project Coordinator of the Freedom of Belief Initiative.

For further questions, please contact us at ft@nhc.no.


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tolga Şirin completed his undergraduate and graduate education at Marmara University. He lectures on constitutional law, law of liberties, constitutional complaint, constitution making processes, freedom of expression and the right to freedom and security at the same university. He was as a board member of the Human Rights Center of the Istanbul Bar Association and the Constitutional Law Studies Association. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Constitutional Law and national consultant for various human rights projects of the Council of Europe. He carried out studies at Birkbeck University (United Kingdom) after his undergraduate education, as a TÜBİTAK fellow during his doctorate and after his doctorate, as a fellow of Raoul Wallenberg Institute, at the University of Cologne (Germany). He has been writing weekly articles on T24 site.
Đermana Šeta joined ODIHR’s Tolerance and Non-Discrimination department as an Adviser on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims in 2016. She has since worked with numerous members of Muslim groups and communities as well as government representatives in many of the 57 OSCE participating States, on topics relating to security and discrimination of Muslims and their communities, education and media. Previously she worked as a researcher and practitioner on topics dealing with intolerance against Muslims, FoRB and gender. She holds a BA degree in English language and literature, MA degree in Religious Studies from Center for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies, University of Sarajevo (in cooperation with Arizona State University, University of Oslo and University of Copenhagen).
Dr. Mine Yıldırım leads the Freedom of Belief Initiative. Yıldırım, who has published extensively on the right to freedom of religion or belief, has wrote her doctoral thesis on “The Collective Dimension of Freedom of Religion or Belief in International Human Rights Law and the Application of Findings to the Case of Turkey” at Human Rights Institute at AAbo Akademi University in Finland. She is a member of the OSCE/ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief and regularly takes part as a researcher in national and international projects. Yıldırım is the co-recipient of the 2016 Stefanus Prise with her work in the field of freedom of belief.

[1] Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights