CFI Defends Freedom of Religion, Belief, and Expression at 28th Session of Human Rights Council

March 26, 2015

The Center for Inquiry’s director of public policy and main representative to the United Nations, Michael De Dora, addressed issues related to the rights to freedom of religion, belief, and expression while representing CFI at this month’s 28th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, held March 2-27 in Geneva, Switzerland.

De Dora delivered two statements on the Council floor. The first spotlighted the disturbingly increasing extent to which member states seek to control messages shared on online media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, or else punish individuals for the messages they share (VIDEO | PDF). The second criticized Saudi Arabia for hypocrisy after the state announced that it would host an international conference on combating religious intolerance while it continues to jail any individual who dissents from their authoritarian (VIDEO | PDF).

De Dora was also scheduled to deliver a statement on preventing violence committed in the name of religion, but the time allotted to NGO statements was cut short. You can view that statement here.

In addition to delivering statements to the Council, De Dora worked with allies at the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the British Humanist Association to include the non-religious in a UN resolution on freedom of religion, belief, and expression. You can read more about that effort here. De Dora also represented CFI in meetings with officials from dozens of international human rights NGOs and foreign governments.

The UN Human Rights Council meets three times each year to consider and debate resolutions related to basic human rights, including those outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

You can learn more about CFI’s work at the UN here.