Patients right to manifest freedom of religion in the Republic of Latvia

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Description

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a fundamental right which is enshrined not only in the European Convention on Human Rights but also in a wide range of other national, international and European legal acts which protects human rights. In the Republic of Latvia freedom of thought, conscience and religion as a fundamental human right is protected by the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. Under the terms of legal acts which protects human rights “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or
belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.” In other words, freedom of thought, conscience and religion includes different religious, non-religious and atheistic beliefs, and the right to accept religion, or choose not to belong to one religion. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion also contains two strands – one on the right to hold a belief and the other on the right to manifest freedom of religion. The right to hold a belief is absolute and unconditional. The State cannot interfere with it, for instance by dictating what a person believes
or taking coercive steps to make him change his belief. Whereas the right to manifest freedom of religion is not absolute because it may have an impact on other and it could be subject to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for
the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Under the Law On the Rights of Patients of the Republic of Latvia (fifth paragraph of Article 3) a patient and his or her relatives have the right to receive mental care which, in accordance with
the laws and regulations governing the activities of chaplain services and religious organisations, shall be provided by the chaplain of a medical treatment institution. Within the framework of the right to mental care, both the patient and his or her relatives have the right to moral support and counseling
on religious matters. Patient receives mental care as a specific legal entity with the rights established by the Patient Rights Act. Right to receive mental care does not include right to manifest freedom of religion. The patient has the right to manifest freedom of religion as a person with human rights.
In accordance with Law On Religious Organisations (fifth and six paragraph of Article 14) religious activities may be performed in hospitals if the persons present therein so wish. The anticipated time and place for an event shall be co-ordinated with the administration of the hospital. The activities of religious organisations and believers shall only be restricted in those cases when the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Latvia are violated.


In the study has been analyzed legal acts that include patient’s right to manifest freedom of religion in the Republic of Latvia and the scientific literature in the field of medical law.

National regulation of Republic of Latvia does not provide or specify how permission to perform a religious manifestation should be given and which persons’ wishes should be taken into account when taking a decision. Legal regulation of the Law On Religious Organisations, in which the manifestation
of religion in the hospital may be restricted, may be contradictious in assessing it with legal acts which protects human rights. Likewise legal regulation does not provide or specify any regulation of patient’s right to manifest freedom of religion in other medical treatment institutions, which are not hospitals.

Following the results of the study national regulation of Republic of Latvia which regulate patient’s right to manifest freedom of religion in medical treatment institutions should be improved.
Period2 Apr 2019
Event titleRSU Research week 2019: PLACES
Event typeConference
LocationRīga, Latvia

Keywords

  • freedom of thought
  • patient
  • Medical law
  • conscience and religion

Field of Science

  • 5.5 Law