CFI Contributes to Major New Report on the Global Persecution of Atheists

December 12, 2012

The Center for Inquiry (CFI), along with allied secular organizations, has partnered with the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) for its groundbreaking new report on a growing and troubling global phenomenon that directly affects our constituencies.  

Restrictions on freedom of belief and expression around the world are among the defining issues of our time, as governments at all levels crack down on speech or beliefs that they view as dissenting, threatening, or blasphemous. But one aspect of this crisis has reached a boiling point, and done so mostly under the radar of the media: the persecution of the nonreligious. 

Timed for Human Rights Day on December 10, IHEU has released Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Non-religious. The report examines the laws and conditions in 60 different countries in which atheists, humanists, and skeptics are persecuted or discriminated against—in 2012 alone. Laws in these countries include restrictions on rights regarding citizenship, marriage, and access to education, as well as the criminalization of religious criticism, and even the mere expression of nonbelief. In many cases, the punishment for this kind of “crime” is death.

CFI was proud to have contributed a significant amount of research to this report, and was joined by the American Humanist Association, the Secular Coalition for America, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. The media has taken notice of this crucial human rights issue, with coverage of the report from such outlets as Reuters, Slate, NBCNews.com, and many others.

These restrictions on speech and belief around the world have long been a prime focus of CFI, and our participation in this report is part of our larger campaign to shine a light on this issue, the Campaign for Free Expression. At the campaign website, you can learn more about those who have been the victims of so-called blasphemy laws and prohibitions on “defamation of religion,” as well as how you can take action to help affect change. 

A PDF of the IHEU report can be downloaded here.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is www.centerforinquiry.net.