Humanist Values Championed by CFI at UN Human Rights Council

April 8, 2014

Representatives of the Center for Inquiry (CFI) addressed a wide range of human rights issues facing the global community at the recent 25th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), held March 3-28 in Geneva, Switzerland.

CFI representatives delivered statements on the persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, the crackdown on free speech in Bangladesh, the spread of harmful religious practices against girls, the brutal human rights record in Saudi Arabia, and violence and discrimination against LGBT persons in Russia and Uganda based on “traditional values,” which are often used as a cover for religion. CFI was also scheduled to deliver a statement on women’s rights and freedom of religion, but the session ran short on time.

The HRC meets biannually to debate topics and consider resolutions related to basic human rights outlined in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

For years, the Center for Inquiry—in collaboration with the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the British Humanist Association—has spoken out on issues such as servile marriage, honor killings, religious tolerance, freedom of expression, and lobbied to include the non-religious in UN measures on religious discrimination.

CFIs 2014 delegation was led by writer and activist Raheel Raza. Additional representatives included human rights advocates Cathy Buchs, David Cornut, Josephine Macintosh, and Maya Stoyanova. They delivered statements and represented CFI in meetings with representatives of NGOs and foreign governments.

“Our brilliant and tireless volunteers were masterful in raising awareness of grave human rights abuses across the world, so many of which are rooted in religious dogma and belief in superstition,” said Michael De Dora, director of CFIs Office of Public Policy and the organizations main representative to the United Nations. “We hope these efforts, in concert with the valuable work of other NGOs, will increase pressure on all members of the global community to uphold and protect the basic individual freedoms outlined in international human rights law.” 

You can learn more about CFIs work at the UN here.