Around the world

The BHA has frequently promoted humanist values at the UN Human Rights Council, which meets at least three times a year to defend human rights across the world. We have used these meetings to strongly criticise governments that have failed to live up to the UN’s values of free expression and freedom of belief. Many countries still restrict freedom of speech and belief by making criticism of religious ideas, or ‘blasphemy’, a criminal offence. Together with a number of similarly minded organisations, the BHA supports the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws to address this issue. We have continually highlighted the persecution faced by humanists around the world, and have called for an end to discrimination against women.

The European Humanist Federation (EHF) campaigns at the European Union level. It tries to ensure that people in Europe are not discriminated against for their beliefs by advocating secularism and opposing all attempts to privilege one particular belief system. It campaigns against all forms of discrimination, as humanists believe very strongly that all men and women are born equal. It has supported women’s sexual and reproductive rights where they have been threatened by conservative religious groups, and spoken out against homophobia.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) records the state of free expression around the world in its annual Freedom of Thought report. It has used this research to bring individual cases to the attention of the international community, and provides resources for those who are being persecuted because of their beliefs. As many humanists across the world still face very real threats to their life, the IHEU’s work in helping those under threat because of their beliefs is vitally important. It has also campaigned vigorously to defend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights against attempts by religiously conservative governments to water it down by limiting freedom of belief and expression.

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