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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Equality & Human Rights

"The National Secular Society upholds the universality of individual Human Rights, which should never be overridden on the grounds of religion, tradition or culture."
Policy statement approved by the 2014 AGM

We campaign for the law and the administration of justice to be based on equality, respect for human rights, and on objective evidence.

Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights ensures everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this includes the freedom to change one's religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest religion or belief.

However, this is a qualified right, which means that an interference with the right can be justified in certain circumstances. We believe that the right to manifest religion or belief does not permit interference with the fundamental rights of others. The right of all members of society to live free from discrimination and to have equal access to employment, to education and services always comes first.

We seek to ensure that Human Rights do not lose out to religious demands, and challenge the exemptions religious groups are granted, or demand, from laws others must follow.

Key issues

Related News

Major new equality report rejects opening the door to religious discrimination

Major new equality report rejects opening the door to religious discrimination

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:15

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a major new report on religion and belief in the workplace, with recommendations which have been strongly welcomed by the National Secular Society.

Ashers Bakery loses appeal over cake with “Support Gay Marriage” slogan

Ashers Bakery loses appeal over cake with “Support Gay Marriage” slogan

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:32

A bakery firm which cancelled an order for a cake with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" has lost its appeal against the ruling that they had unlawfully discriminated.

NSS calls on Parliament not to ignore religious infringement on children’s rights

NSS calls on Parliament not to ignore religious infringement on children’s rights

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 12:16

The National Secular Society has warned the Joint Committee on Human Rights that religion's role in state education is impeding the rights and freedoms of children and young people growing up in the UK.

Protect the rights of the non-religious in education, says British Institute of Human Rights

Protect the rights of the non-religious in education, says British Institute of Human Rights

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 07:12

The British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) has endorsed several recommendations made by the National Secular Society, in a submission to the United Nations.

UN children’s rights Committee calls on UK to abolish compulsory worship in schools

UN children’s rights Committee calls on UK to abolish compulsory worship in schools

Fri, 10 Jun 2016 07:29

A UN committee has urged the UK to repeal laws requiring the provision of 'broadly Christian' worship in UK schools. It also called for pupils to be given the independent right of withdrawal from any religious worship held in schools.