Atheist Ireland in Warsaw this week for OSCE human rights conference

Atheist Ireland is in Poland this week, highlighting the religious discrimination against atheists and members of minority faiths throughout the OSCE, and particularly in Ireland.

The event is the annual human rights conference organised by the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which includes over fifty States from Europe, North America and Asia. Here are some of our previous contributions to this annual conference.

Atheist Ireland at OSCE human rights conference in 2014

Atheist Ireland at OSCE human rights conference in 2013

Atheist Ireland at OSCE human rights conference in 2012

This year we will be highlighting the fact that Ireland says it is constitutionally obliged to discriminate against atheists & minority faiths.

This year and last, both major UN Human Rights chairpersons have condemned Ireland’s lack of secularism.

In 2015 Waleed Sadi, Chair of UN Committee on ESC Rights, said:

“The division between Church and State is fuzzy. In a developing country this would not be unusual, but by European standards it is almost sacrosanct, this division between Church and State. Your country, Ireland, poses a unique situation. Is it a uni-cultural or multi-cultural society? It seems to me to be more a uni-cultural society. If so what happens to minorities in your country?”

In 2014 Nigel Rodley, Chair of UN Human Rights Committee, said:

“The Magdalene laundries, the Mother and Baby homes, the child abuse, the symphysiotomy. It is quite a collection, and it is a collection that has carried on beyond any period that it is hard to imagine any State Party tolerating. And I can’t prevent myself from observing that all of them are not disconnected from the institutional belief system that has predominated in the State Party, and which occasionally has sought to dominate the State Party.”

Despite this, in Ireland today:

  • The State not only allows but supports and funds religious discrimination
  • The State claims exemption from EU Equality Directive 2000/78
  • There is no effective remedy for breaches of human rights
  • President, Judges, and Prime Minister must swear religious oaths
  • The law against blasphemy breaches right to freedom of expression
  • Nearly all State-funded primary schools are privately run by Churches
  • State-funded schools can require baptism certs for access
  • State-funded schools integrate religion throughout entire curriculum
  • State-funded schools discriminate against atheist/minority faith teachers
  • The law discriminates against atheists who want to solemnise marriages
  • The law against abortion breaches right to health and bodily autonomy
  • There is no effective redress for victims of historical abuse by religions

We will be highlighting these and wider international breaches of human rights of atheists and minority faiths throughout the OSCE this week.

Michael Nugent
Promote Secularism in Ireland
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