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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Prof. Dr. Dr. Javier Martínez-Torrón

Prof. Dr. Dr. Javier Martínez-Torrón

Complutense University
Human Rights, Law
External Senior Fellow (Marie S. Curie FCFP)
October 2021 - December 2021

Room 02 013
Phone +49 (0) 761-203 97391
Fax +49 (0) 761-203 97451


Professor of Law at Complutense University and Vice-President of the Section of Law and Religion and Canon Law of the Spanish Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation. Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. Member of the steering committee of ICLARS (International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies). Member of the the Advisory Council of the Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies, and of the Faculty and Fellows of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University. Honorary Foreign Member of the National Academy of Law and Social Sciences of Córdoba, Argentina. He has been a Member of the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Council on Freedom of Religion of Belief (2005-2013), and of the Advisory Commission on Religious Freedom of the Spanish Ministry of Justice (2002-2014). Visiting professor, lecturer and researcher in numerous Universities and institutions in the five continents (among them Stanford, Cambridge, Oxford, Chicago, Columbia, Berkeley, Harvard, Freiburg, Strasbourg, Turin, Messina, Haifa, UNAM (Mexico), and National University of Colombia). His academic work focuses on the legal analysis of freedom of religion or belief, and its interactions with other fundamental rights, from a comparative and international perspective. His writings, published in 23 countries and in 13 languages, include 24 books as author, co-author or editor, and about 130 essays in legal periodicals or collective volumes.

Publications (Selection)

His recent books include Religion and Law in Spain (2d ed, Wolters-Kluwer, 2018); Great Christian Jurists in Spanish History (co-ed., with Rafael Domingo, Cambridge University Press, 2018); Religion and the Secular State(co-ed., with W. Cole Durham Jr., UCM & BYU, 2015); Tensiones entre libertad de expresión y libertad religiosa (co-ed., with Santiago Cañamares, Tirant lo Blanch, 2014); and Conflictos entre conciencia y ley (co-author, with Rafael Navarro-Valls, 2d ed, Iustel and Porrúa, 2012).


Human dignity and social cohesion: exploring ways to minimize the disruptive effect of conflicts between human rights in the area of freedom of religion or belief

The project’s goal is to explore different ways to prevent conflicts between competing human rights claims that involve freedom of religion or belief. Human rights try to delineate the inalienable sphere of freedom and autonomy that must be recognized to all human beings. They are directly connected to the notion of human dignity and are conceived as necessary to allow all men and women to define their identity and destiny, and to find the meaning of their existence. Although human rights are supposed to foster and facilitate social cohesion and harmony, seventy years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights they have often become a divisive factor in society. Conflicts between human rights occur far too often, and human rights are frequently used as a political or ideological weapon in public debate to discredit the adversary. This project is based on the conviction that those conflicts cannot be adequately addressed from a solely legal perspective in terms of just “who is right and who is wrong”; they require special attention to human dignity as a foundational notion that can contribute to build common ground between competing conceptions of human rights and societal values rooted in ethical and ideological conceptions that appear at first sight as mutually exclusive. Four thematic areas will be especially considered: freedom of expression; sexual identity and orientation; use of religious attire; and religious profiling for the prevention of crime.