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Peter Tatchell

Peter TatchellHuman rights campaigner and Patron of Humanists UK

 “I am proud to be a supporter of Humanists UK. As an atheist, secularist and humanist I believe that reason, science and ethics – not religious superstition – are the best way to understand the world and promote human rights and welfare. While defending persecuted religious minorities, I oppose religious privilege and intolerance – and defend the right of people to criticise and reject faith and all other belief systems, including my own. I am a strong supporter of secularism – the separation of the state and religion. It creates a level playing field where all faiths and none are equal before the law. This affirms freedom of expression for all and protects religious minorities from persecution by religious majorities. In other words, it safeguards both non-believers and religious freedom.”

Peter Tatchell has been campaigning since 1967 on issues of human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom, and global justice. From the late 1970s onwards, he proposed a single, comprehensive Equal Rights Act to harmonise the uneven patchwork of equality legislation, to ensure equal treatment and non-discrimination for everyone. This proposal was eventually secured with the passage of the Equality Act 2010.

In 1994, he named 10 Anglican bishops and urged them to “Tell The Truth” about their sexuality; accusing them of homophobia and hypocrisy. The same year he was arrested for saying the Islamist extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir espoused Nazi-like views about women, LGBT and Jewish people. Four years later interrupted the Easter Sermon of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, in protest at his opposition to gay equality.

In 1999, in London, he ambushed the motorcade of the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, attempting a citizen’s arrest on charges of torture. A repeat attempt in Brussels in 2001 resulted in him being beaten unconscious by Mugabe’s bodyguards.

In 2009, he co-proposed a UN Global Human Rights Index, to measure and rank the human rights record of every country – with the aim of creating a human rights league table to highlight the best and worst countries and thereby incentivise governments to adhere to human rights standards and improve their ranking.

He coordinated the Equal Love campaign from 2010, in a bid to overturn the UK’s twin legal bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships – helping win same-sex marriage but, not yet, opposite-sex civil partnerships.

He is Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation: www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org.

Expanding on how his Humanism relates to his wider advocacy of human rights, Peter commented in 2014:

As an atheist, secularist, and humanist, I believe that reason, science, and ethics – not religious superstition and ancient holy texts – are the best way to understand the world and promote human rights and welfare. Human rights law is the embodiment of these principles. It is man-made, not god-given; being the end result of rational and moral thought and debate. Unlike inflexible religious dogmas, it has evolved over time from basic principles to the inclusion of new rights such as those of disabled and LGBT people. While defending persecuted religious minorities, I oppose religious privilege and intolerance – and defend the right of people to criticise and reject faith and all other belief systems, including my own. I am a strong supporter of secularism – the separation of the state and religion. It creates a level playing field where all faiths and none are equal before the law. This affirms freedom of expression for all and protects religious minorities from persecution by religious majorities. It safeguards both non-believers and religious freedom.

For a more detailed biography see http://www.petertatchell.net/biography.htm

 

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