Balancing Religious Accommodation and Human Rights in Constitutional Frameworks

What sorts of constitutional solutions could reconcile the protection of human rights with the demand for religious accommodation in contemporary democratic and democratizing states? The challenge of crafting a democratic constitution under conditions of deep disagreements over the state's religious or secular identity is the central concern of this research group. The place of religion in public life is intrinsically related to the fundamental question of human rights protections for women and vulnerable minorities, among others, that constitution drafters must address.

The main objective of the research group is to bring together constitutional experts and scholars working on religion-state relations in a variety of country contexts in order to determine how different constitutional arrangements of addressing religion may contribute to, or detract from, the progressive achievement of human rights. As tensions over religion-state relations are gaining increasing salience in contemporary processes of constitution-writing and re-writing around the world, the research group will draw on a broad range of case studies of past and current constitutional debates over the state's religious or secular identity.

Shylashri Shankar, senior fellow at CPR, directs this project with colleagues from Princeton and Tel Aviv.