Call for participants: A comparative examination of the right to freedom of thought across multiple jurisdictions

by | Oct 7, 2022

The right to freedom of thought is protected by numerous international human rights treaties including Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as Article 9 European Convention on Human Rights and Article 13 American Convention on Human Rights. The scope of the right is thought to be four-fold: (a) freedom not to disclose one’s thoughts; (b) freedom from punishment for one’s thoughts; (c) freedom from impermissible alteration of one’s thoughts; and (d) an enabling environment for freedom of thought (UN A/76/380, 2021).

We will hold a virtual symposium to explore how the right is protected, if at all, at a domestic level across multiple legal systems and at an international level. This symposium hopes to hear from lawyers in as many jurisdictions as possible about the presence and application of this fundamental right. The recent scholarly attention given to the right has been backdropped against technological, including neuroscientific, developments which, although relevant, do not allow us to appreciate the varying social, cultural and legal contexts in which the right may or may not be protected (e.g. Blitz & Bublitz, 2021; Alegre, 2021).

The purpose of the event is to sketch out the legal status and applicability of the right to freedom of thought, which might be contained in a national bill of rights or a regional human rights treaty. The right might not be explicitly recognised in domestic law but might enjoy indirect protection through legislation which protects the mental space, for example consumer rights to cooling-off periods to allow consumers to change their minds, criminal offences aimed at the psychological distress caused by stalking, robust access to information laws, guarantees of media pluralism, neurotechnology regulations, space for political dissent, or strong protection of minority beliefs and opinions.

International symposium on the right to freedom of thought

Where & when: online at 12noon UK/Irish time on Wednesday 23 November 2022

Registration deadline: Friday 21 October 2022 Instructions: To attend, please email b.shiner@mdx.ac.uk, patrick.ocallaghan@ucc.ie. To participate, please submit a 200-400 word country report on the right to freedom of thought within your chosen region/jurisdiction.

More information available here: https://bit.ly/3CvreIh

Organised with Middlesex University and University College Cork

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