Posts Tagged 'human rights'

Is blasphemy coming back?

As Reverend Mother would say ‘when the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window’. Not long after the UK has removed the crime of Blasphemy from its lawbooks, the UN has passed a draft resolution on ‘Defamation of Religion’. The draft resolution was passed on the 24th of November 2008 and calls on member states to amend laws and constitutions to prevent ‘Defamation of Religion’. This would conflict with the rights to freedom of opinion and expression (article 19) and freedom of thought, conscience and religion (article 18) as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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42 days?!

What can I say? When MPs voted in favour of 42 days detention as part of the Counter-Terrorism Bill last Wednesday, I was appalled, disgusted and angry.

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Blasphemy in the UK

On May 6th this year, the UK House of Commons voted to abolish Blasphemy and Blasphemous Libel from the statute books as an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. The final Act received royal assent on 8th May and will come into effect as of 8th July 2008. Blasphemy laws in the UK apply to blasphemy against Christianity exclusively.

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Humanist Society of Scotland Education Strategy Event

On Saturday, I headed over to Our Dynamic Earth to attend the official launch of the Humanist Society of Scotland’s education strategy. The launch date was carefully chosen to coincide with the birthday of the famous scottish enlightenment philosopher David Hume, and the location is one of Edinburgh’s leading visitor attractions for families which takes an exciting approach to educating people about Earth Sciences. The event was open to the public and those in attendance included HSS members, University of Edinburgh Humanist Society members, teachers, parents, grandparents and more besides; we were looking forward to finding out more!

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UN Human Rights in trouble

There’s rather troubling news from the International Humanist and Ethical Union about developments at the UN Human Rights Council. It seems that an amendment has been passed which compromises the right to Freedom of Expression and changes the role of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression. Without freedom of speech it is impossible to debate, criticize or expose abuses of any other human rights. The right to discuss or challenge opinions and beliefs is surely close to the heart of many humanists.

Further details can be found here.

CFI London

On Friday I attended the official opening for the Center for Inquiry‘s new educational centre in London. The new CFI London has taken up residence in Conway Hall which has a long history of humanism having been established by the South Place Ethical Society. The CFI London is a welcome addition to its still very much active humanist community.

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Guantanamo Bay

Six years ago today the first detainees were sent to the U.S. military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. Of the 775 detainees that have been held there since January 11th 2002 not a single one has been put on trial. Today international protests asking for the closure of Guantanamo Bay and an end to illegal detention took place in London, Belfast, Edinburgh, Washington, Tokyo, Manila, Sydney and Stockholm. There are grave concerns about the human rights and welfare of those detained as well as fear that they may not be given fair trials.

For more information and/or suggestions as to what you can do, take a look at articles from Amnesty International UK, Human Rights Watch, The National Guantanamo Coalition and Wikipedia.