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UK: Report illustrates global discrimination against the non-religious

In some societies, allegations of religious dissent are manufactured for use against minority belief communities, or vulnerable individuals, or to settle personal vendettas.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: Ekklesia
By Ekklesia Reporter | December 12, 2012

A report published to coincide with UN Human Rights Day earlier this week is the first to systematically highlight the limitations on freedom of thought for the non-religious in over 60 countries across the world.

The report ‘Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Non-religious’, commissioned by the International Humanist Ethical Union (IHEU), focuses on current laws in a range of nations that discriminate against people on the basis of their atheism, humanism or other non-religious beliefs and limit their freedom of expression.

It also documents recent cases that show the impact of these laws on specific individuals. The report has been welcomed by the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The research shows that many countries criminalise manifestations of atheist and humanist convictions or sceptical thoughts. In prosecuting these ‘crimes’ it is not always necessary to accuse a person of atheism and many states prosecute people who express religious doubts or dissent regardless of whether those dissenters identify as atheist or humanist.

More commonly, non-religious people experience discrimination when they manifest their beliefs by acting against the dictates of the religion of their family, community or country, it says.

In some societies, allegations of religious dissent are manufactured for use against minority belief communities, or vulnerable individuals, or to settle personal vendettas. In addition the report shows that there are several forms of legal measures found across many countries that either criminalise the expression of atheist and humanist beliefs or result in systematic discrimination against atheists, humanists and those who reject religion.

The UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Professor Heiner Bielefedt, has welcomed the research and noted that there is often ‘little awareness’ that international human rights treaties mean freedom of conscience applies equally to “atheists, humanists and freethinkers and their convictions, practices and organisations”.

Read original post here: Report illustrates global discrimination against the non-religious

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