Principles of the European Secularist Network

  • The recognition of Secularism as a universal principle for the functioning of states, inherent to a full democracy, guaranteeing individual freedoms and the peaceful coexistence of various philosophical opinions and religious beliefs.
  • In the wake of the Liège Appeal, the inclusion of secularism in State constitutions and international treaties, in order to promote the development of secular states in Europe, impartial and guarantors of rights and freedoms. This includes the defence of democracy and the rule of law, the defence and promotion of fundamental rights and the enforcement of the principle of separation between religions and states, at all levels of power, in relation to legislation and the behaviour of all public authorities, including the revocation of concordats or any other confessional privileges in the public sphere (i.e., legal, teaching, financing, taxation, use of symbols, etc.).
  • Freedom, with a particular emphasis on the promotion and protection of:
    • freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, which includes the right to have none, and the right to change one’s religion or belief;
    • freedom of expression, which includes criticism of religious dogmas and institutions and the suppression of legislation criminalizing “blasphemy”;
    • freedom of information, as an element of shaping a free conscience, guaranteeing pluralism, access to the media, the right of reply, control of fake news, etc.;
    • the right to individual self-determination and in particular the right of women to control their bodies through contraceptive methods and voluntary interruption of pregnancy, respect of one’s gender identity and sexual orientation, and personal autonomy in the choice of the end of life;
    • freedom of scientific research;
    • Children’s Rights, on the basis of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;
    • all minors’ right to attend schools where they can learn to live together in secular and diverse societies, without any type of segregation, and free from forced indoctrination by families, communities or governments, aiming at the emancipation of pupils through the practice of free thought.
  • Equality, in particular the absence of privileges or discrimination for ideological or confessional reasons. The broad vision of secular equality includes real equality, between women and men, in all its dimensions, i.e. equal rights, equal pay, equal treatment in society and in the family.  And the corollary of the principle of equality, i.e. the fight against discrimination, whether related to skin colour, national origin, religion or lack thereof, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Solidarity, which is necessary to equality, emancipation and human dignity. The defence of universal public services as a guarantee ofsolidarity, social justice and cohesion. Solidarity also has to be understood in an international and inter-generational manner, in the face of the threats facing the world today, be they climatic, pandemic, ideological or political, or resulting from armed conflicts. These threats are creating new, unsustainable discriminations and inequalities. They call for new struggles and new forms of solidarity. It is a new way to define secularism’s relation to the world, and rebuild the spirit of Enlightenment.