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NIHRC Animation Launch: Let’s Talk about Rights and Religion

19 Apr 2018

Let’s Talk about Rights and Religion

Protecting the right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion goes right to the heart of the kind of society that we all want to live in. That is the message that will be heard today at the launch of a joint animation by the Human Rights Commission and the Evangelical Alliance.

The short animation explains how human rights laws mean that the government and public authorities are required to respect and protect the diversity of religions and beliefs in Northern Ireland. It also highlights how freedom to practice your religion can be subject to limits required by the law.

Chief Commissioner Les Allamby commented:

“We are pleased to launch this animation today with the Evangelical Alliance. It provides a vital opportunity to raise awareness of the human right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion. As a society it is important that we respect the freedom to hold different religious beliefs or to hold no religious belief at all. There is an important legal and human rights framework that protects these issues, while recognising the parameters within which it applies. We hope that everyone will watch the animation and consider the wider issues it raises.”

Director of Evangelical Alliance, Peter Lynas stated:

“Belief, thought and conscience are critical to who we are. That is why it is great to partner with the Commission in talking about the fundamental right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion. It is so important we ensure the vital role of faith in the public square. We hope this animation will help people to talk openly about their faith or beliefs, sharing them with others, rather than seeing faith as a private matter.”

The launch will be followed by a panel and Q&A session. Panellists include:

Very Rev Dr Norman Hamilton OBE, Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church Ireland

Boyd Sleator, Northern Ireland Humanists

Tracy Harkin, Iona Institute

Edwin Graham, Northern Ireland Interfaith Forum


Further information:

Press are welcome to attend this event.

For further information please contact Claire Martin on (028) 9024 3987/ 0771 7731873 or by email on

Notes to Editors

1. The Animation on the Right to Freedom of Conscience, Thought and Religion will be held on Thursday 19 April from 12.30-1.30 at The MAC Belfast. All media are invited.

2. Agenda

12.30-12.45- Lunch on Arrival

12.45- Introduction by NIHRC Chief Commissioner Les Allamby

12.50- Introduction by Evangelical Alliance Director Peter Lynas

12.55- Screening of animation

1.00- Panel Discussion


1.30 Close.

3. The animation is available to watch here:

4. What the Human Rights Act says

Article 9: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

1. 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 worship, teaching practice and observance.

2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

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