General Comment 22 emphasises the broad scope of the freedom of thought, and clarifies that article 18 protects all form of religion, including the right not to. This document from the United Nations Human Rights Committee, specifically recognizes the application of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil. The CCPR General Comment No. 22 on Freedom of Thought, Conscience or Religion (article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) was.


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The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion which includes the general comment 22 to hold beliefs in article The Committee draws the attention of States parties to the fact that the freedom of thought and the freedom of conscience are protected equally with the freedom of religion and belief.

  • CCPR General Comment No. Article 18 (Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion) | Tavaana
  • CCPR General Comment No. 22: Article 18 (Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion)
  • CCPR General Comments

The fundamental character of general comment 22 freedoms is also reflected in the fact that this provision cannot be derogated from, even in time of public emergency, as stated in article 4. Article 18 protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.

The terms "belief" and general comment 22 are to be broadly construed.

Article 18 is not limited general comment 22 its application to traditional religions or to religions and beliefs with institutional characteristics or practices analogous to those of traditional religions. The Committee therefore views with concern any tendency to discriminate against any religion or belief general comment 22 any reason, including the fact that they are newly established, or represent religious minorities that may be the subject of hostility on the part of a predominant religious community.

General Comments

Article 18 distinguishes the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief from the freedom to manifest religion or belief. It does not permit any limitations whatsoever on the freedom of thought general comment 22 conscience or on the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of one's choice.

These freedoms are protected unconditionally, as is the right of everyone to hold opinions without interference in article In accordance with articles The freedom to manifest religion general comment 22 belief may be exercised "either individually or in community with others and in public or private".


The freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching general comment 22 a broad range of acts. The concept of worship extends to ritual and ceremonial acts giving direct general comment 22 to belief, as well as various practices integral to such acts, including the building of places of worship, the use of ritual formulae and objects, the display of symbols, and the observance of holidays and days of rest.

The observance and practice of religion or belief may include not only ceremonial acts but also such customs as the observance of dietary regulations, the wearing of distinctive clothing or headcoverings, participation in rituals associated with certain stages of life, and the use of a particular language customarily spoken by a group.

Refworld | CCPR General Comment No. Article 18 (Freedom of Thought, Conscience or Religion)

In addition, the practice and teaching of religion or belief includes acts integral to the conduct by religious groups of their basic affairs, such as the freedom to choose their religious leaders, priests and teachers, the freedom to establish seminaries general comment 22 religious schools and the freedom to prepare and distribute religious texts or publications.

The Committee observes that the freedom to "have or to adopt" a religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views, as well as the right to retain one's religion or belief.

Policies or practices having the same intention or effect, such as, for example, those restricting access to education, medical care, employment or the rights guaranteed by article 25 and other provisions of the Covenant, are similarly inconsistent with article The same protection is enjoyed by holders of all beliefs of a non-religious nature.

General comment 22 Committee is of the view that article The liberty of parents or legal guardians to ensure that their children receive a religious and moral education in conformity with their own convictions, set forth in article The Committee notes that public education that includes instruction in a particular religion or belief is inconsistent with article In accordance with article 20, no manifestation of religion or belief may amount to propaganda for war or advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library

As stated by the Committee in its General Comment 11 [19], States parties are under the obligation to enact laws to prohibit such acts. The freedom from coercion to have general comment 22 to adopt a religion or belief and the liberty of parents and guardians to ensure religious and moral education cannot be restricted.

In interpreting the scope of permissible limitation clauses, States parties should proceed from the need to protect the rights guaranteed under the Covenant, including the right to equality and non-discrimination on all grounds specified in articles 2, 3 and Limitations imposed must be established by law and must not be applied in a manner that would vitiate the rights guaranteed in article The Committee observes that paragraph 3 of article 18 is to be strictly interpreted: Limitations may be applied only for those purposes for which they were prescribed and must be general comment 22 related and proportionate to the specific need on which they are predicated.