Join us on 20 June in Brussels at “Are you a true humanist?“, the event we will co-organise with the European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The event will be occasion to discuss the situation of freethinkers seeking asylum when they reach reception centres in European countries. In particular, we would like to explore how various governments deal with the assessment procedures of asylum requests of freethinkers and the evolution of such procedures if any.
For more information on the programme, see below:
Background: Our regular readers know that we have been active in raising awareness about the the difficulties encountered by non-believers fleeing persecutions worldwide and seeking asylum in Europe.
Although the UN Refugee Agency and the EU have issued guidelines to help governments dealing with this issue, in many countries, including EU Member States, the situation of non-believer asylum seekers is still very precarious, for various reasons. In previous statements, we have called decision-makers’ attention to the fact that despite the existing guidelines making it clear that religion-based asylum claims fully apply to people who hold non-theistic or atheistic beliefs, including those who leave religion (apostates), in several countries (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands or until recently the UK), government officers fail to correctly assess and understand the life-stances and situation of non-believers who seek asylum.
Many administrative officers are not aware of the risks that non-believers seeking asylum (and their relatives) face in their countries of origin and several cases have stressed the inadequacy of administrative questionnaires to assess claimants’ credibility. Where procedures have been improved (e.g. in the UK), it is thanks to the work of Humanist organisations that have provided trainings to government services.