Atheists are under threat: to live non-religious people harder
According to a new report presented this week in the European Parliament, non-religious people face heavy discrimination in over 85 countries, and it happens more often. What is behind this trend?
International humanist and ethical Union (IHEU), who prepared the report, also notes that, according to the last 12 months, the unbelievers are actively pursuing at least seven countries — from India and Malaysia to Sudan and Saudi Arabia. In which regions fared the worst, and what is behind this trend?
- In April in Pakistan, a University student, accused of insulting Islam, was beaten to death by a mob of fellow students directly on campus.
- A few weeks before in the Maldives blogger, known for his support of liberal secularism and ridiculing religion, was found stabbed to death in his apartment.
- In Sudan, human rights activist Mohamed Dosage was jailed after asking to formally change the entry in your ID card, putting in the “religion” that he is an atheist.
These are just three stories that the international humanist and ethical Union cites, warning of a growing wave of discrimination, pressure and attacks on atheists and religious skeptics around the world.
In a report “On freedom of thought in 2017” cases, as the authors write, “severe discrimination” against non-religious people in 85 countries.
In seven of these countries — India, Mauritania, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the Maldives — the unbelievers “actively pursuing”, the authors of the report.
This week the international humanist and ethical Union (IHEU) — the London-based organization that unites under its aegis more than 120 humanist, atheist and secular groups from more than 40 countries presented their findings at the European Parliament.
This worrying trend runs counter to one of basic human rights, which is simply ignored by the authorities”Gary Maclellandii IHEU
Freedom of thought and religion guaranteed by the universal Declaration of human rights of 1948 and include the right to freely choose or change religions, and freedom of expression of their religious beliefs — or lack thereof.
“Many countries turn a blind eye to this international norm,” says Maklelland.
Of the 85 countries recognized by experts IHEU unsafe for people who do not identify themselves as followers of no religion, 30 the situation is even worse: there in the last 12 months were recorded gross violations.
It can be extrajudicial killings, pressure from the authorities, the prosecution of suspects in blasphemy or defamation of religion — or even their complete disappearance.
According to the report, 12 of these 30 countries, apostasy — changing religion or abandoning it — is punishable by death.
In 55 countries there are other forms of “serious discrimination”.
Such, for example, include the control of religion on family and administrative law, fundamentalist education in public schools or criminal punishment for criticizing any beliefs protected by law.
In this same category were a few States — such as Germany and New Zealand — on the grounds that there are still archaic laws on “blasphemy” and similar violations, although in practice they are rarely used.