Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

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Written by  Published in Initiatives & Projects Friday, 12 February 2016 00:00

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Main articles: Freedom of thought, Conscience and Freedom of religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

— Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion are closely related rights that protect the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to think and freely hold conscientious beliefs and to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion.[94] The freedom to leave or discontinue membership in a religion or religious group—in religious terms called "apostasy"—is also a fundamental part of religious freedom, covered by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[95]

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International organises campaigns to protect those arrested and or incarcerated as a prisoner of conscience because of their conscientious beliefs, particularly concerning intellectual, political and artistic freedom of expression and association.[96] In legislation, a conscience clause is a provision in a statute that excuses a health professional from complying with the law (for example legalising surgical or pharmaceutical abortion) if it is incompatible with religious or conscientious beliefs.[97]

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