New Report Details Global Restrictions on Freedom of Belief and Expression

December 10, 2012


In recognition of Human Rights Day, the International Humanist and Ethical Union today released a report that details laws around the world which serve to restrict the rights to freedom of belief and expression, and instances of nonreligious persons facing discrimination and persecution.

The 72-page report, titled “Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Non-religious,” was produced in collaboration with the Center for Inquiry, American Humanist Association, Secular Coalition for America, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason. It can be downloaded here.

In a foreword to the report, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief Heiner Bielefeldt (who I wrote about last week) 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 organizations. I am therefore delighted that for the first time the Humanist community has produced a global report on discrimination against atheists. I hope it will be given careful consideration by everyone concerned with freedom of religion or belief.”

News coverage has included articles on websites such as ReutersHuffington PostNBC NewsThe BlazeJakarta Globe, and