Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Report Focuses on Global Discrimination Against Humanists and Atheists

To mark Human Rights Day yesterday, Britain's International Humanist and Ethical Union issued (press release) the first report focusing on discrimination around the world against non-religious people. Titled Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Non-religious, the 72-page report covers laws and cases of discrimination country-by-country. Summarizing its findings, the report says in part:
This report shows that atheists, humanists and other nonreligious people are discriminated against by governments across the world. There are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry, obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.....
A handful of countries criminalize atheism per se.  In addition, there are several forms of legal measures found across many countries that either criminalize the expression of atheist beliefs or result in systematic discrimination against atheists and those who reject religion. These include laws regulating:
• Apostasy and religious conversion
• Blasphemy and religious criticism
• Compulsory religious registration, usually with a list of permissible religions
• Religious tests for citizenship or participation in civic life
• Religious control of family law
• Religious control of public education.
MSN News and Voice of Russia both cover the Report.