Sister Immaculate Joseph v. Sri Lanka
Human Rights Committee
U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/85/D/1249/2004 (2005)
Sister Immaculate Joseph (plaintiff) was a citizen of Sri Lanka (defendant) and a Catholic nun. Joseph belonged to an order that provided teaching as well as charitable work for the community. The order served people without regard to race or religion. The order, which had existed for over 100 years, filed an application seeking incorporation, which would help members to carry out their mission in terms of sharing their faith and their work helping others. In Sri Lanka, incorporation for organizations only occurred through legislation. However, someone filed an objection in the supreme court to the bill proposing the order’s incorporation. The supreme court ruled that allowing the order’s incorporation would conflict with Article 9 of Sri Lanka’s constitution. The supreme court reasoned, without providing a factual basis, that permitting the order to incorporate with its combined mission of religious observance and provision of social and economic aid would necessarily create a situation in which inexperienced and vulnerable people might feel pressured, thus conflicting with their freedom of religion to select a faith of their choosing. Article 9 required that Buddhism was to be favored over all other religions and that the government had to protect and propagate the teachings of Buddha while safeguarding the rights of all religions. Yet the supreme court held that sharing Christianity as the order desired would hinder Buddhism’s very existence. The supreme court decided that Sri Lanka’s constitution did not acknowledge a fundamental right to share one’s religion. Joseph filed a communication with the Human Rights Committee on behalf of herself and 80 other sisters at the order, alleging a violation of Articles 18 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the covenant). Joseph highlighted two other cases in which Christian organizations sought incorporation and were denied and a significant list of other groups with combined missions that were granted incorporation. Sri Lanka relied on the supreme court’s decision for justification.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 723,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 723,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,500 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.