The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and United Kingdom Law

By David Harris; Sarah Joseph | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

Committee member Lallah has noted that religious minorities will inevitably experience difficulties when they seek to practise their religion in a multi-racial society.270 However he also said that, when there is a state religion, 'efforts should be made to ensure that the minority did not suffer'.271 This implies a 'positive' obligation, but it is doubtful whether this can be inferred from Article 18. Even if it could, opinions vary as to whether a United Kingdom Religious Discrimination Act, modelled on the racial discrimination legislation and sex discrimination statutes, would improve the position of minority faiths.272 In general, the United Kingdom seems to conform with the letter if not the spirit of Article 18. Some potential breaches do arise, for example, regarding the freedom of Rastafarians to manifest their religion, and the provision of schools offering teaching in accordance with the convictions of Muslim parents.

____________________
270
CCPR/C/SR 595, para. 13.
271
CCPR/C/SR.846, 8.
272
Such legislation has been advocated by various Muslim groups: see UKACIA, n. 16 above, and The Runnymede Bulletin, Mar. 1992, 3. However, see discussion of potential difficulties in Bradney, n. 84 above, 160.

-389-

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