Definitions of the right to freedom of thought and religion
The right to freedom of movement is enshrined in
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The right is enshrined in Articles 18 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions. respect the exclusive character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.
In its General Comment No 22 of 1993, the Human Rights Committee comments on the freedom of thought and religion: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/comments.htm.
Several articles in the Convention on the Rights of the Child contain this right (and thus cannot be quoted here): Articles 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24 and 37.
Even more articles in the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families contain this right: Articles 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 53, 56, 57, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 69, 70, 71, 79, 81 and 82.
The right is also contained in Article 18 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
1. The family shall be the natural unit and basis of society. It shall be protected by the State which shall take care of its physical health and moral.
2. The State shall have the duty to assist the family which is the custodian of morals and traditional values recognized by the community.
3. The State shall ensure the elimination of every discrimination against women and also ensure the protection of the rights of the woman and the child as stipulated in international declarations and conventions.
4. The aged and the disabled shall also have the right to special measures of protection in keeping with their physical or moral needs.