Secularists Break New Ground at United Nations

December 6, 2012

In late October, a delegation representing the secular advocacy groups International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and Center for Inquiry (CFI) met with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to urge for more awareness of discrimination against freethinkers around the world, and increased efforts to protect their rights.

The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief is an independent expert appointed by the UN to monitor, investigate, and report on important issues relating to his subject area. The position is currently held by Heiner Bielefeldt, a German philosopher. 

The meeting, which was attended by Matt Cherry and Margaretha Jones of IHEU and Michael De Dora of CFI, marked the first time explicitly secular advocates at the UN engaged in private dialogue with the Special Rapporteur regarding our specific interests. It lasted roughly 90 minutes.

For detailed information on this meeting, please read Matt Cherry's report.

Bielefeldt was in New York City to deliver his annual report to the UN General Assembly. While in town, he also attended several meetings hosted by the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion of Belief, of which both IHEU and CFI are members. You can read Matt Cherry's coverage of those events here.

Michael De Dora, Margaretha Jones, Heiner Bielefeldt, and Matt Cherry at the UN.

Michael De Dora, Margaretha Jones, Heiner Bielefeldt, and Matt Cherry.  

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