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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

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.

EHRC to investigate gender segregation at Islamic faith school

EHRC to investigate gender segregation at Islamic faith school

Fri, 06 May 2016 13:32

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has been asked by the Department for Education to investigate an independent Islamic school that segregated its staff by gender.

Bangladeshi government must act over killings and defend free speech

Bangladeshi government must act over killings and defend free speech

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:07

The National Secular Society has written to the Bangladeshi High Commission criticising their government's inaction over a spate of Islamist killings.

EHRC urged to tackle discrimination and unfairness of faith schools

EHRC urged to tackle discrimination and unfairness of faith schools

Fri, 18 Dec 2015 13:55

The National Secular Society has called on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to tackle issues of discrimination and unfairness stemming from religious influence in publicly funded education.

Woolf Commission’s multifaithism 'completely at odds with the religious indifference that permeates British society'

Woolf Commission’s multifaithism 'completely at odds with the religious indifference that permeates British society'

Mon, 07 Dec 2015 06:52

The National Secular Society has criticised a new report on the role of religion and belief in public life for calling for a multi-faith approach "completely at odds with the religious indifference that permeates British society."