Article 14: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion


  1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
  2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.
  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.

People in many societies experience barriers to enjoying this right, in particular to freedom of religion. But children face additional barriers - their convictions are ultimately constricted by their parents and other adults around them. In some cases the imposition of parents' beliefs can lead to irreversible harm to children. A number of child deaths have been recorded because their parents, from various religious backgrounds, have rejected life-saving medical interventions for their child on religious grounds.