Freedom to Believe: Protecting and Promoting Article 18
03 June 2010 and 07 July 2010


The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the central document of the twentieth century that internationally codified fundamental human rights; freedom of religion being one. Freedom of religion and belief is set out in Article 18 of the UDHR, and in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

In too many countries around the world, freedom of religion and belief is restricted or denied. Followers of various religions face discrimination and persecution, and in some countries the right not to believe is denied. The freedom to change beliefs is restricted in many parts of the world, and the freedom to practise religion is often limited. Discrimination and persecution ranges from denial of employment opportunities, to full-scale violent persecution, including imprisonment, torture, slavery, rape and even death. 

The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission’s new inquiry will examine what policy options the United Kingdom’s new government should consider, to protect and promote respect for freedom of religion and belief as set out in Article 18 of both the UDHR and the ICCPR, to defend victims of religious persecution, to prevent religiously-motivated persecution and conflict, and to create an atmosphere of greater inter-religious harmony.

The Oral Evidence Sessions

June 3:

On June 3, the Commission will hear oral presentations from the following speakers:

Dr. Kishan Manocha, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais, and Daniel Wheatley of the Bahais

Caroline Brossi Yates, Falun Gong

Human Rights Watch

Tina Lambert, Advocacy Director, Christian Solidarity Worldwide

July 7:

On July 7, the Commission will hear oral presentations from the following speakers:

Stephanie Brigden, Free Tibet

Amnesty International

Ahmadiya spokesman

Rohingya Muslim from Burma