A significant part of our output, which often receives less attention, is our submissions to Government or international bodies' consultations. A selection of these submissions can be found below.
The Equality Act Review Campaign is conducting a public consultation with the aim of presenting our findings in Parliament.
We responded highlighting some of the forms of discrimination that are not currently protected against by the Equality Act 2010, including discrimination in faith schools, employment, and on the basis of 'caste'.
Renfrewshire Council has proposed to extend the priority given to children who are baptised Catholic for admission to Catholic schools; read more.
We've responded criticising these plans. We've said there is no justification for restricting access to a publicly funded school based on the religious beliefs of children or their families.
In a submission to the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, we called on the HRC and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to protect all children equally from genital cutting.
Inverclyde Council have been consulting on changes to school admissions arrangements that would add more 'faith testing' to the process, disadvantaging children who are not baptised Catholic.
We responded to oppose any changes that would increase discrimination and segregation based on religion or belief.
Surrey County Council plan to open a new school by amalgamating Christ Church C of E infant School (a faith school) and Englefield Green Infant School and Nurseries (a community school). This would result in closing down Englefield Green Infant School community school and re-opening it as a CofE faith school.
We've told the council that we strongly oppose these plans.
The UK government is consulting on two issues: same-sex religious marriage and the appropriate protections, and conversion entitlements in Northern Ireland.
Although the questions posed in the consultations are on matters that are beyond our scope, we believe the questions, and the need to consult on the issue of marriage where it relates to religion, LGBT+ people, and civil partnerships, serve to highlight a deeper issue: the entanglement of religion and state in the legal institution of marriage.
We therefore submitted our briefing on reforming marriage laws.
This consultation is in relation to the implementation of the legal duty under section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 - and will inform a new framework for access to abortion services in Northern Ireland that is consistent with the recommendations of the 2018 United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Report, Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
In its response, the NSS has emphasised that women's rights to a safe and legal abortion should be extended, and should not be compromised by religious concerns.
Our consultation response on proposals to remove the right to withdraw from religious education (RE/RW) and relationships and sexuality education (RSE) in Wales.
- We have no objection in principle to a removal of the right to withdraw from a fully reformed Religious Education or Religions and Worldviews subject. However, our support for any removal is contingent on institutional and cultural change to ensure the subject area is genuinely objective, critical and pluralistic. In our view, the current reforms do not go far enough to justify ending this long-standing right at this time.
- For as long as faith schools remain part of the educational landscape, with the ability to teach RE in a way that accords with its faith basis, parental freedoms and children's independent rights must be protected by a right of withdrawal.
- We believe the potential harms caused by denying children access to comprehensive relationships and sex education justify ending the right to withdraw from this subject.
This Online Harms White Paper set out the government's plans for new online safety measures to make companies more responsible for their users' safety online, especially children and other vulnerable groups.
It proposed establishing in law a new duty of care towards users, which will be overseen by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling a comprehensive set of online harms, ranging from illegal activity and content to behaviours which are harmful but not necessarily illegal.
We welcome many of the actions the government proposes to take to tackle online radicalisation and extremism. However, we were concerned that some of the proposals may severely impact upon freedom of expression and freedom of religion.