My reference: LSM/FOI/120909/15
Background. Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This includes the freedom to change a religion or belief, and to manifest a religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance, subject to certain restrictions that are "in accordance with law" and "necessary in a democratic society"
Further to s1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
a. What rules are there in Queen’s Regulations regarding religion, and are these compatible with Article 9 of the ECHR?
b. Do service personnel have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion?
c. Are Commanding Officers permitted to order subordinates to attend church services?
d. Are Commanding Officers permitted to order subordinates to attend church services, under the expedient of designating such an attendance ‘a parade’?
e. If ‘no’ to (c) or (d), would the use of military command authority (i.e. issuing orders) to order personnel to attend church be a breach of the service personnel’s Article 9 rights?
f. If ‘no’ to (c) or (d), would the use of military command authority (i.e. issuing orders) to order personnel to attend church lead to action being against the commander issuing the improper order(s)?
My preferred format to receive this information is by electronic means. If one part of this request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need any clarification of this request please feel free to email me. If FOI requests of a similar nature have already been asked could you please include your responses to those requests.
I note that under s16 of the Act, it is the MOD's duty to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who make requests for information to it. Accordingly, if the MOD considers attempting to block release of information under s12 of the Act (exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit), please a) provide a breakdown of costs, and b) explain what information *would* be releasable within the appropriate limit according to the department's purported calculations. I would, in that situation, apply for internal review, and ultimately apply for decision by the Information Commissioner, per s50 of the Act.
I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request, and I look forward to hearing from you within the 20-working day statutory time period.
Please see attached a reply to recent Freedom of Information Act Requests.
Army Headquarters | IDL 24 | Blenheim Building | Marlborough Lines |
ANDOVER | SP11 8HJ
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