Article 9: Freedom of thought, belief and religion
Articles of Human Rights
Article 9 protects your right to freedom of thought, belief and religion
It includes the right to change your religion or beliefs at any time.
You also have the right to put your thoughts and beliefs into action. This could include your right to wear religious clothing, the right to talk about your beliefs or take part in religious worship. Public authorities cannot stop you practising your religion, without very good reason – see the section on restrictions below.
Importantly, this right protects a wide range of non-religious beliefs including atheism, agnosticism, veganism and pacifism. For a belief to be protected under this article, it must be serious, concern important aspects of human life or behaviour, be sincerely held, and be worthy of respect in a democratic society.
Are there any restrictions to this right?Public authorities cannot interfere with your right to hold or change your beliefs, but there are some situations in which public authorities can interfere with your right to manifest or show your thoughts, belief and religion. This is only allowed where the authority can show that its action is lawful, necessary and proportionate in order to protect: