CFI’s UN Representative Condemns ‘Honor Killings’ and Human Rights Abuses

June 4, 2013

Just as the Center for Inquiry fights crucial policy battles in the United States for science, reason, and secularism, CFI also brings its efforts and advocacy to the international stage, with representation at the United Nations in both New York City and Geneva.

CFI’s main Geneva representative is Dr. Elizabeth O’Casey, who today delivered a statement condemning the horrifying practice of so-called “honor killings” of women, and the governments that allow perpetrators to evade punishment.

“We can no longer stand by and watch this horrific violence against women go unpunished,” O’Casey told the Human Rights Council. “This barbaric practice is justified on cultural and religious grounds. We must not allow such grounds to be used to legitimize or excuse such an abhorrent abuse of a woman’s right to life, her right to equality, her right to freedom, or her right to dignity.

“We urge all member states to do more to protect women from this sort of violence, to punish those who commit it, and to condemn the culture of impunity and religious justification, which not only allows, but encourages, such barbarity.”

O’Casey joined CFI allies the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and the British Humanist Association (BHA) in delivering statements during a debate on civil and political rights, including a joint proclamation delivered on behalf of all three groups urging for greater access to contraception and abortion.

O’Casey will be working alongside these groups all session long to advocate on behalf of secularist and humanist causes, such as freedom of belief and expression, women’s equality, and church-state separation. Also planned is a statement on the use of torture in Iran and equality for disabled persons around the world.

“Honor killings, restricted access to reproductive health care, crackdowns on free speech—these are all serious human rights abuses. Secularists have an important voice to add to these discussions, separating policy from the oppressive dogma of religion and superstition,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s New York UN representative.

“We are proud to have Elizabeth O’Casey representing the Center for Inquiry, and all of us who believe in reason, secularism, and our common humanity. She is doing a wonderful job bringing the global community’s attention to some of the most critical issues of our time.”

The full text of CFI’s statement on honor killings can be found 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