CFI Defends Freedom of Religion, Belief, and Expression at 31st Session of Human Rights Council

March 25, 2016

The Center for Inquiry forcefully defended fundamental human rights at the 31st regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, held February 29 through March 24, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

CFI was represented by main representative to the UN Michael De Dora, who delivered four oral statements to the Council: on the relationship between freedom of religion, belief, and expression (VIDEO | PDF); on the importance of free expression on social media (VIDEO | PDF); on free expression and equal justice (VIDEO | PDF); and on protecting basic civil rights in combating racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance (VIDEO | PDF). 

De Dora was also scheduled to deliver a statement on human rights in Bangladesh (PDF), but was unable due to UN constraints. 

In addition to these statements, De Dora spoke on a panel discussion on secularism co-organized by CFI and the International Humanist and Ethical Union, directly lobbied officials from Council member states, and attended meetings with leading human rights activists from around the world. 

CFI also co-sponsored a panel discussion organized by Article 19 and the International Federation for Human Rights on implementation of the UN’s resolution on combating religious intolerance; co-sponsored a statement by Article 19 on the human rights impacts of preventing violent extremism; and joined a letter signed by more than 100 NGOs that urged member states to reject hostile amendments to a resolution on human rights defenders.

The UN Human Rights Council meets three times each year to consider and debate resolutions related to basic human rights. You can learn more about CFI’s work at the UN here.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at