Inside Look: UN Human Rights Council Resolutions on Freedom of Religion, Belief, and Expression

March 26, 2015

Over the next two days, the United Nations Human Rights Council will close its 28th regular session with a flurry of votes, including on two resolutions related to freedom of religion, belief, and expression. For as much as these resolutions spur debate within the halls of the UN, they are far less contentious — indeed, far less known — to the general public. Fortunately, I just spent two weeks at the HRC representing the Center for Inquiry, and was involved in the conversations surrounding these resolutions. This gives me a great opportunity to provide you with an update on these resolutions.

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Avijit Roy and His Legacy: Guest Post by Jahed Ahmed

March 12, 2015

Thanks to the Internet, Avijit Roy is now more famous than ever. Several Islamic zealots, who also brutally assaulted his wife, killed him outside a book fair on the streets of Dhaka. Yet these fanatics have achieved the opposite of what they ultimately wished for: obliterating Avijit forever. Now, Avijit will leave a lasting legacy.

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Confronting State-Sanctioned Religious Violence: A Statement to the UN Human Rights Council

March 11, 2015

On Monday, March 9, I arrived in Geneva, Switzerland to represent the Center for Inquiry at the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which is ongoing through March 27. Spread out over the past two days, March 10 and 11, the Council has hosted an Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, on his latest annual report, "preventing violence committed in the name of religion."

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On Placing Blame for the Chapel Hill Killings

February 13, 2015

I am as disturbed by atheists who have been quick to blame the Chapel Hill murders on nothing more than a parking dispute as I am by people who are already tracing Craig Hicks' crime back to the strident but non-violent rhetoric of prominent New Atheists. 

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A Mix of Wins and Losses in the 2014 Midterm Elections

November 05, 2014

The Republican Party has won control of the United States Senate, giving Republicans control of both chambers of Congress next year. Yet, as important as this shift is, it is not the complete story on yesterday’s elections. In fact, you might be heartened to learn of some lesser-known results. To help fill you in, here's a brief summary of noteworthy results for the secular, skeptic, and humanist communities.

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Raif Badawi, Appeal Denied, Will Soon Face Brutal Punishment for Blasphemy - UPDATED

September 04, 2014

Saudi Arabia's appeals court in Mecca has confirmed the sentence of human rights activist Raif Badawi, 30, to ten years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and a one million riyal fine (USD $266,631). We must raise our voices to end the brutality.

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Obama Set to Bar Discrimination Against LGBT Workers, Without a Religious Exemption

July 18, 2014

On Monday, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order that will bar federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, according to news outlets. And, in a major win for advocates of secular government, the order will reportedly not include an exemption for religious organizations.

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Why CFI Is Suspending Its Support for ENDA

July 11, 2014

After the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the Center for Inquiry has decided to suspend its support for ENDA until the bill's religious exemption is either greatly narrowed or scrapped altogether.

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Saudi Rights Activist Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

July 08, 2014

Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in prison, a 15-year travel ban after his release, and fined 200,000 riyals for "inciting public opinion against the government" and "insulting the country's leaders and judiciary."

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Saudi Arabia Tries to Stop Center for Inquiry From Delivering Statement at Human Rights Council

June 23, 2014

This morning at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Saudi Arabia tried three times to stop the Center for Inquiry (CFI) from delivering a statement criticizing the country for its human rights violations. Ultimately, their efforts failed, and CFI was allowed to speak. 

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