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Karaduman v. Turkey, No. 16278/90, ECommHR (Plenary), 3 May 1993

Type Judgment
Case number 16278/90


The refusal to issue a degree certificate due to the student refusal to provide a photo without the Islamic headscarf does not breach art. 9 of the ECHR.

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR


1. Article 9 ECHR primarily protects the sphere of private, personal beliefs, and not every act in the public sphere which is dictated by such convictions .The term "practice" in this provision does not cover any act which does not directly express a belief, even though it is motivated or influenced by it.

2. The rules relating to identity photos to be used for diplomas, while not directly related to the disciplinary rules that regulate daily life in universities, are an integral part of the regulations established with the aim of preserving the "republican" and "secular" nature of the university. By choosing to study in a secular university, the student submits to the regulations of that university and the limitations on the ways and places in which to manifest his religious beliefs, which are aimed at guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of others, in particular the diversity of religious beliefs of other students.

3. The university degree aims to certify a student's professional skills and is not a document intended for the attention of the general public. Therefore, the photo affixed to a diploma serves to identify the person concerned and cannot be used by the student to demonstrate his religious beliefs.