European Parliament asserts right not to believe, right to apostasy and not to profess any religion

European Parliament asserts right not to believe, right to apostasy and not to profess any religion

Posted on the 16/01/20

The European Humanist Federation welcomes the principled defence of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief by the European Parliament.

In its “Annual report 2018 on the human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter”, adopted on 15 January, the European Parliament affirmed its commitment to fundamental rights.

The European Humanist Federation welcomes the EP’s clear affirmation that the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief right “includes the rights not to believe, to espouse theistic, non-theistic, agnostic or atheistic views and the right to apostasy and not to profess any religion”. The EHF fully shares the call to guarantee this right all over the world and preserve it unconditionally.

As the EP has stressed, “anti-conversion and blasphemy laws (…) effectively limit and even deprive religious minorities and atheists of their freedom of religion or belief”. Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief is broader than mere tolerance of minorities: it is the individual right to adopt, change or abandon one’s religion or belief, of one’s own free will.  Freedom of expression is thus of tremendous importance in this regard, and includes the freedom to debate openly about religious matters and criticise religious dogmas and objects of worship.

The European Humanist Federation is part of the “End blasphemy laws” campaign. All laws that criminalize critical discussion or “insult” to religion by their nature violate the human rights to freedom of thought and freedom of expression and must be repealed.


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