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Humanists mark 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today, Monday 10 December, humanists marked Human Rights Day by celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and calling for equality for all on the basis of religion or belief.

As part of Human Rights Day, the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (to which Humanists UK provides the secretariat) held an event on protecting non-religious people’s rights to asylum in the UK.

Freedom of religion or belief, including for humanists, is often poorly upheld in the asylum process in the UK, despite the right being enshrined in national and international law. There are currently 13 countries, including Pakistan, where blasphemy or apostasy is punishable by death.

In October, Humanists UK celebrated a huge lobbying win after the Home Office announced it would introduce mandatory training for all asylum assessors on religion or belief-based claims.

On the day, Humanists UK also welcomed the latest report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). Humanists UK had input into the report which highlights particular persecution in 27 countries.

Humanists UK has also signed a letter coordinated by the British Institute of Human Rights calling on the Prime Minister to stand firm on our hard-won freedoms and protections and ensure that human rights are upheld as the UK prepares to exit the European Union.

Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson said: ‘As a human rights charity, Humanists UK is firmly committed to the protection and promotion of human rights, as exemplified in the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which is given effect in UK law by the Human Rights Act.

‘In the UK, people are unfairly privileged or discriminated against because of their religion or belief in education, compulsory collective worship, employment, marriage law, and elsewhere. Internationally, people are persecuted for blasphemy and apostasy with extreme punishments like the death penalty being in force. These examples demonstrate that despite the progress we have made so far, we still have a long way to go in bringing about human rights for all.’


For more information, contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at  or phone 020 7324 3078.

Read our news item on training for Home Office asylum assessors:

Read more about our human rights and campaigning work:

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At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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