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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

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."

NSS stresses role of education in nurturing cohesive societies in speech at European Parliament

NSS stresses role of education in nurturing cohesive societies in speech at European Parliament

Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:55

The NSS has told top-level European officials of the positive role secular education can play in building a shared future and challenging religious intolerance across Europe.

Freedom of expression cannot be left to the “mercy of others”, says chair of EHRC

Freedom of expression cannot be left to the “mercy of others”, says chair of EHRC

Wed, 21 Oct 2015 13:34

Baroness O'Neill, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has warned that there is no way of securing freedom of expression and a right not to be offended.

MPs express support for secularism in Bangladesh

MPs express support for secularism in Bangladesh

Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:36

Several Members of Parliament have praised secularism in a debate on Bangladesh, and the NSS is calling on them to support secularist principles in the UK as well.