Atheist Ireland to speak on human rights at UN in Geneva and OSCE in Warsaw

Next Friday 23rd September Atheist Ireland will become the first Atheist advocacy group to address the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. We will make this speech during the adoption of the Report from Ireland at the 33rd Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). We will then go on to Warsaw for the annual OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting on the following Monday and Tuesday.

UN Human Rights Council Geneva

Atheist Ireland will highlight at the UN the ongoing problems in Ireland with regard to freedom of religion and belief, the blasphemy law, religious discrimination in schools, and the law against abortion. Our ongoing international lobbying has already contributed to important recommendations for Ireland to stop breaching the human rights of atheists, secularists and members of minority faiths.

Only organisations that have Consultative status with the UN are permitted to speak to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Atheist Alliance International has this status, and Atheist Ireland can use this to speak before this Council Session. We are members of Atheist Alliance International, and our committee member John Hamill is its Secretary.

Atheist Ireland has engaged with this UPR process from the start, by making Submissions to the Department of Justice and to the UN Human Rights Council. You can read them here and here. We also attended and spoke at a pre-session meeting of UN Human Rights Council States in Geneva.

OSCE Human Dimension Meeting Warsaw

Atheist Ireland will go from this UN Session to the annual OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw. This is Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference. It is organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a platform for the 57 OSCE participating States.

It brings together hundreds of government officials, international experts, civil society representatives and human rights activists to take stock of how states are implementing their commitments in the human dimension, in other words, the core values that promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Atheist Ireland will attend the Session on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th of September. We will have an opportunity to speak here as well. On Monday the session will cover Tolerance and non-discrimination, including prevention and responses to hate crimes in the OSCE area, and combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, also focusing on intolerance on religious grounds. On Tuesday the session will cover Fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.

Atheist Ireland