Humanists attack blasphemy and offence laws at UN Human Rights Council

Sep 23, 2014

By British Humanist Association

 

Humanists have spoken out against blasphemy or offence laws at a meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. These laws, typically used to protect religious sensitivities, but consistently denounced as inconsistent with international human rights law, are increasingly being used to silence debate and to curtail the activities of human rights defenders. The British Humanist Association (BHA) intervention called for immediate steps to end state impunity regarding human rights abuses and for the adherence of international obligations.

Amelia Cooper, representative of the BHA, used her speech to highlight how online activists are regularly targeted by blasphemy laws, as in the case of Saudi Arabian Raif Badawi, whose punishment for establishing a liberal website includes 1000 lashes. These could begin imminently, due to the recent failure of his appeal. Amelia also reported on the plight of a student in Morocco, Abdessamad Haydour, who remains in jail on a three year sentence for ‘insulting the King’ in a video posted online, despite the 2011 constitutional guarantee to protect ‘freedom of thought, opinion,and expression in all its forms’.

9 comments on “Humanists attack blasphemy and offence laws at UN Human Rights Council

  • The whole concept of “Religious Sensitivity” is so absurd as to be unbelievable. The concept of “Religious Psychosis” is an idea I can get behind though. If your’e an atheist and a voice in your head tells you to go out and kill, you know you need to go out and visit a mental health professional. If your’e a Godly man and a voice in your head tells you to go out and kill, you know the Lord has spoken and you must obey. I don’t care if your’e a christian, a muslim, a hebrew, or a whatever, if you believe a mythological supernatural entity is speaking in your head, telling you what to do, you are as insane as a person who thinks space aliens are speaking in their head, telling them what to do. There really is no difference between belief in religion and belief in alien abduction, big foot, the tooth fairy, etc, etc.



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  • 3
    Miserablegit says:

    Said it before and will keep on saying it, blasphemy laws are the work of religions unable to deal with criticism and feel the need to persecute non believers.



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  • Just another law designed to take us all back to the dark ages, thank f#ck for freethinkers who are finally coming out. I have only one thing to say to believers: if heaven is so good, what are you doing here?



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  • The argument against blasphemy appears to be: There is only our god not yours or theirs, only our communion with our god is correct and you may disagree with us but we have a lot of clout and we reserve the right to torture you to death. Howzat for a deal?
    The UN won’t do anything. Religions are the mistresses of governments. They’re an embarrassment to get really intimate with in public but keep them under wraps and they’re good to cosy up to when you’ve a real need for justifying social inequalities and human needs.



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  • “…There really is no difference between belief in religion and belief in alien abduction…”

    Actually, there is a categorical difference. One merely involves believing in something for which there is no credible evidence. The other almost always includes the extra element of believing in something which is contrary to the basic laws of the universe as we know it.

    😉



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  • Actually religious people tend to believe in a lot of things contrary to the basic laws of the universe as we know it.
    Noah’s Ark
    Turning water into wine
    Raising the dead

    As just a few examples from the religion I know the most about as I used to be a Catholic Christian. I look back now and think: Wow. I was embarrassingly stupid.

    Oh and don’t forget some interesting beliefs about the age of the earth and how dinosaurs were somehow on earth at the same time as humans, both disproven by science.

    My boyfriend told me an interesting story about how he let go of Christianity. He told me that one day he asked himself: ‘If the world had to have a creator; if things that exist need to have a creator, then the creator would need to have a creator, and so on and so forth.’
    He realised this didn’t ad up and gave up religion.

    We both try to be accepting of things that can’t be explained yet as simply things science hasn’t explained yet that probably have a scientific law we have yet to discover. Otherwise, we treat anything not proven or a little bit fantastical as things to be thought about, but not accepted as fact until proven.



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