Humanism on the world stage

International Humanism

Humanists have a strong international presence, and are represented on the global stage by a variety of humanist organisations. Just a few of these organisations are listed below, along with some notable campaigns.

International Humanist and Ethical Union

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the umbrella organisation which gathers humanist, atheist, rationalist, freethought, and similar organisations worldwide. IHEU supports its member organisations and works to foster the growth and development of the humanist network around the world.

IHEU represents the humanist movement on a variety of international bodies including the UN Human Rights Council and Committee on the Rights of the Child in New York, Vienna, and Geneva, UNICEF in New York, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, UNESCO in Paris, and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

IHEU produce an annual Freedom of Thought Report, which is a comprehensive overview of the global discrimination against atheists and non-religious people worldwide. They run various awareness and fundraising campaigns on specific topics which change depending on the severity of the global situation.

The European Humanist Federation

Founded in 1991 and based in Brussels, the European Humanist Federation (EHF) unites more than 50 humanist and secularist organisations from around 20 European countries. The EHF promotes a secular Europe and defends the equal treatment of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

The EHF represents humanists at the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe by defending freedom of conscience and choice, and the rights of the non-religious. The EHF is involved in several international international campaigns, including an awareness campaign aimed at exposing extremist religious lobbyists active in the EU, and the End Blasphemy Laws Campaign (more information below).

The British Humanist Association

The British Humanist Association (BHA), while based in the United Kingdom, campaigns internationally against the discrimination and persecution of non-religious people via its work at the UN Human Rights Council.

In the past, the BHA has made statements to the UN Human Rights Council on the persecution of atheists, secularists and humanists in Bangladesh and Kazakhstan, and the prevalence of blasphemy laws worldwide.

End Blasphemy Laws Campaign

The End Blasphemy Laws Campaign brings together organisations and individuals with the goal of encouraging the repeal of blasphemy and related laws worldwide. The laws which the End Blasphemy Laws Campaign wants to see abolished are those that criminalise ‘blasphemy’, ‘insult to religion’, ‘hurting religious sentiment’, and any other laws which restrict the questioning or criticising of religion.

Blasphemy laws violate the right to free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, and are often used to suppress and punish people who criticise religious ideas, advocate secularism, and persecute religious minorities.