Home > Public space > Spain > 2009-01-08 - Superior Court of Justice of Andalucia, n. 244/2008

2009-01-08 - Superior Court of Justice of Andalucia, n. 244/2008

Public space · Spain · Religious education · School

Conscientious objection to school subject: Education for Citizenship and Human Rights

Key facts of the case – Appeal against the decision of the Department of Education of the Government of Andalucía whereby the request for conscientious objection against the subject of Education for Citizenship and Human Rights (Educación para la ciudadanía y Derechos Humanos), submitted by the appellant in the name and on behalf of his children, who are minors, is dismissed.

Main reasoning of the court - The appeal is upheld on grounds of the acknowledgment of the appellants’ right to conscientious objection and of its children’s right to be exempted from taking the aforementioned subject in school.
The Constitutional Court expressly acknowledges the exercise of the right to conscientious objection, regardless whether this right has been included in a legal body or not.
Conscientious objection is part of the fundamental right of freedom of ideology and religion set forth in Article 16 of the Spanish Constitution.
Furthermore, the European Court of Human Rights acknowledges parents’ right to have their religious and philosophical convictions respected in the education of their children, as well as the States’ obligation to respect these convictions in the general program of public education. The judgment also adds that, contrary to what happened in this case, both the State and each school have to provide parents with any information they might need in order to exercise their right to object to the aforementioned school subject, should they wish to do so.
The Court further makes clear that the plaintiffs do not need to specify in detail their philosophical or religious convictions.
Finally, the Court notes that the protection through conscientious objection of the rights of freedom of ideology and religion, and of the right of parents to ensure that their children receive the religious or moral instruction which is in accordance with their own convictions, does not endanger the democratic legal system.