We work towards the establishment of a framework in which the multitude of worldviews and life stances present in our societies can co-exist peacefully and people are able to live their life to the fullest.
This is achieved via the promotion of secularism throughout Europe and at EU level. It encompasses the protection of freedom of religion or belief, including the right not to believe and the right to change one’s beliefs.
As rights should protect people, not ideas or institutions, we promote freedom of thought and expression which implies opposition to laws prohibiting blasphemy, mockery or criticism of religion.
As we believe everyone should be given the same chances in life, we defend the rule of law, equal treatment and non-discrimination on all grounds (whether ethnic or national origin, religion and belief, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, etc.)
One area on which we put particular emphasis is the promotion and protection of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, as these are still very often threatened by religious arguments stemming from dogmatic views.
How we work:
- We use our ethical, legal, political and scientific expertise to encourage change in European and international public policies when our values are at stake;
- We promote individual freedom and reason, rather than dogma, as a basis for decision-making and oppose the influence of religious conservatism on European policies as, it still impedes social progress in several European countries;
- We work in partnership with a large network of organisations, including progressive religious ones, who share our vision;
- We support member organisations based in more than 20 European countries in the challenges they face at domestic level;
- We promote humanist values in general through engagement in education and non-confessional services such as humanist weddings and funerals, as well as pastoral care or chaplaincy in hospitals, prisons, etc.
Where we work:
- The EHF is recognised as an official partner of the EU under the Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. We are regularly consulted by the EU Commission, Parliament, Council and the European External Action Service.
- The EHF is also a Member of the Advisory Board of the European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics, the Parliament’s cross-party platform on secularism, and we work closely with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.
- We collaborate with the Council of Europe and the OSCE and we are active in the Economic and Social Council of the UN where we have a consultative status. Our work towards the UN is made in close collaboration with the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
Different countries in Europe have different histories, institutions and assumptions. The beliefs of non-religious people are naturally subject to these variations.
In countries where the church remains very strong there is more emphasis on rejection of religion and its claims. In others, where rejection of religious belief is more common, there is more emphasis on a positive philosophy of Humanism. Despite these differences, we are united in the vision of the society we defend.