Panayote Dimitras (founder of the Humanist Union of Greece) and some of his colleagues in the Greek Helsinki Monitor (affiliated to the International Helsinki Federation) have won a case against Greece at the European Court of Human Rights.
In their work under the Helsinki process, they frequently have to make depositions or give evidence in court. Despite constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion or belief, Greek law requires that as a default they have to take an oath according to the Greek Orthodox faith or else to justify their wish to take a different oath or to affirm by revealing their adherence to another belief or their lack of belief.
The Strasbourg Court has again in this case underlined that freedom of religion or belief includes “the right of the individual not to be obliged to manifest his religion or his religious beliefs and not be obliged to act in such a way that such convictions or their lack can be deduced. In the eyes of the Court, state authorities have no right to intervene in the field of freedom of conscience of the individual and to seek his religious beliefs, or to force him to express his beliefs about the divinity” (judgement, para. 28).
The Court therefore found against Greece and ordered the government to pay costs.