In a resolution adopted on 3 May, the European Parliament affirms its commitment to freedom of thought, conscience, belief and religion. It also calls on the EU institutions to defend it in their internal and international policies.
Persecutions against secular humanists
The secularist movement strongly approves the reaffirmation of this fundamental right so often violated, and the denunciation by the Parliament of the “growing persecution and (…) unprecedented waves of incitement to hatred and killings, in a number of countries worldwide” against “non-religious, secular and humanist organisations”.
Moreover, the Parliament condemns the violence against “countless individuals and civil society organisations (…) for peacefully questioning, criticising or satirising religious beliefs”. It rightly points out that “this ongoing violation of freedom of thought and expression is occurring across geographic and cultural borders, including within EU Member States.”
Violence and discrimination in the name of religion
The resolution also rightly stresses the persistence of violence and discrimination against women and LGBT+ persons on religious grounds by states and non-state actors alike.
The Centre d’Action Laïque joins in the condemnation of “all acts of or incitements to violence, persecution, coercion and discrimination against individuals on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, including by religious leaders or based on religious or belief motivations.”
As the resolution points out, ” the defence of ‘tradition’ or ‘public morality’ cannot contradict, in any instance, international human rights provisions to which states must adhere.”
End Blasphemy Laws
The Centre d’Action Laïque, a partner in the “End blasphemy laws” campaign launched by Humanists International, welcomes the call for the EU “to intensify its political dialogue with all countries concerned, with a view to repealing” laws incriminating ” blasphemy, heresy, apostasy, defamation of or insults against religions”, including among its Member States.
In the wake of the Liège Appeal, CAL promotes secularism, which establishes and protects the values of freedom, equality and solidarity, and allows the peaceful coexistence of philosophical or religious opinions. Secularism guarantees freedom of conscience, the foundation of human rights.