Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion
Section 99 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 19 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Article 9 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; and also Article 2 of the 1st Protocol thereto
Each and every individual has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religious beliefs. As stipulated in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, this right includes freedom to change the individual’s religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. It also includes the right not to follow any religion if the person selects so.
Conviction of an individual is not only related to religion. It means any conviction of an individual that is serious and important to them. It may be, for example, pacifism of philosophical conviction of the individual.
This right is also aimed at preservation of pluralism in society. Individuals, however, have to accept general denial of their conviction by society, and the fact that propaganda of a contrary conviction also exists.