Latest News

‘Children in illegal religious schools being failed’, says BHA

Significant action by local and national authorities is required to ‘secure the rights, well-being, and education of the children’ trapped in illegal religious schools, the British Humanist Association (BHA) has told Hackney Council as part of its inquiry into unregistered schools.   The inquiry is being run by the Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny […]

Australia’s Northern Territory decriminalises abortion, introduces buffer zones around abortion clinics

Australia’s Northern Territory Parliament has passed a law which decriminalises abortion and introduces buffer zones around abortion clinics. Following a full day of passionate debate, the bill passed by a vote of 20 to 4, to the delight of its supporters in the public gallery. The law will come into force in July. The British […]

New report: ‘faith’ schools ‘more ethnically segregated’, ‘more likely to cater to more advantaged students’

‘Faith’ schools in England are ‘more ethnically segregated than schools of no faith’ and ‘more likely to cater to more advantaged students’, new research has revealed. The report, entitled Understanding School Segregation in England: 2011 to 2016, examines the level of segregation within schools by comparing the ethnic make-up and free school meal eligibility of […]

Liberal Democrats vote to end religious selection amongst state schools

The Liberal Democrats have passed new party policy to support an end to religious selection in state-funded schools in England. The policy also calls for all state schools to teach impartial education about religious and non-religious worldviews that is inspected by Ofsted, for much stricter limits on religious discrimination in ‘faith’ school employment, and for […]

New stats reveal: only legalising humanist marriages will give same-sex couples a meaningful choice of type of marriage ceremony

The Office of National Statistics has published new statistics on the number of marriages, both same- and opposite-sex, which occurred in England and Wales in 2014, the first year that same-sex marriages were legally recognised. The statistics have revealed that just 23 couples out of the 4,850 who had same-sex marriages, or just 0.47%, opted to […]

MPs vote in favour of decriminalising abortion in England and Wales

Members of the House of Commons yesterday voted by 172 to 142 in favour of a Ten Minute Rule bill brought by Diana Johnson MP, to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales. Currently women across the UK can be sent to jail for having an abortion without the permission of two doctors, even if she […]

European Court of Justice issues ruling on employees wearing religious clothing

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has today found that general rules prohibiting employees from ‘the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign’, including headscarves, on the basis of neutrality, need not constitute direct discrimination under European employment law. It may constitute indirect discrimination, if it puts ‘persons adhering to a particular religion […]

Further nine speakers announced for BHA Convention 2017

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today announced a second wave of speakers for its 2017 Convention, taking place in Cambridge over 9–11 June. With three months still to go, the 2017 Convention is already set to be the BHA’s largest national event so far. Tickets are available to buy through the BHA website. Announced as new […]

House of Commons approves compulsory Relationships and Sex Education in English schools, whilst expressing concerns on ‘faith’ school opt out

Government proposals to make Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in all English schools were approved by MPs in the House of Commons yesterday. The change comes as part of an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill introduced by the Government, and follows decades of campaigning, intensified in recent months, by the British […]

Peers decry ‘legislative cowardice’ in failure of UK Parliament to make assisted dying lawful

Yesterday in the House of Lords a large number of peers contributed to a debate on assisted dying. A number of members of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group delivered particularly passionate condemnations of Parliament’s failure to implement legislation enabling it. As an ardent advocate of its legalisation for the terminally ill and incurably suffering, the […]

2017 Rosalind Franklin Lecture given by Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Cognitive neuroscientist Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore spoke to a busy lecture theatre in central London last night for the second-ever British Humanist Association (BHA) Rosalind Franklin Lecture, held in the week of International Women’s Day in celebration of women’s contributions to Humanism. Professor Blakemore’s lecture on ‘Inventing your self: the secret life of the adolescent brain’ […]

Germany’s highest court rules in favour of assisted dying

Germany’s federal supreme court for administrative and public law issues has handed down a judgment which says ‘a painless assisted death may not be denied in extreme circumstances’. The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig is the court of last resort for all public law matters and its ruling brings to an end a long legal […]