Atheist Ireland submission to Government Anti-Racism Committee

Atheist Ireland made a submission this week to the Department of Equality’s Independent Anti-Racism Committee. You can read that submission in full at this link. Below is the overview and contents sections of the submission.

Introduction to the submission

As atheists, we empathise with members of other groups who face prejudice and discrimination in Ireland, because we have first-hand experience of it. We also recognise that members of other groups face more frightening hostility in Ireland, including overt harassment, intimidation and violence. We should all stand together to challenge prejudice and hostility against any and all of us, and to protect the values of Western liberal democracy that enable us to do so.

We recognise the intersectionality between prejudice based on race and prejudice based on religion or atheism. Nobody should be discriminated against based on their race, or based on their religious or nonreligious beliefs. We address this in part 2 of of this submission, which deals with racial discrimination in schools.

However, religious and nonreligious beliefs are different from race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, which are the characteristics used to define racial discrimination in Article 1 of the CERD. Unlike these immutable characteristics, religious and nonreligious beliefs are changeable, and they must remain open to criticism without that criticism being inaccurately labelled as racist. This is particularly important where those beliefs are themselves the source of discrimination and human rights abuses of other people. We address this in part 3 of this submission.

This submission contains the text of two submissions that Atheist Ireland has already made:

  • A submission made by Atheist Ireland, the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in November 2019.
  • A submission made by Atheist Ireland to the Department of Justice Consultation on Hate Crime and Hate Speech in December 2019.

Part 1 — Overview

1.1 Introduction to Atheist Ireland

1.2 Introduction to this submission

Part 2 — Racial Discrimination in Schools

This is the submission made by Atheist Ireland, the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in November 2019.

Overview

2.1 Introduction

2.1.2 Issues addressed in the CERD Concluding Observations 2011

2.1.3 Implementation of the recommendations

2.1.4 Our Recommendations

2.1.4(a) Patronage: multiple patronage and ethos leads to segregation and inequality

2.1.4(b) Access: the right to attend a local school without religious discrimination

2.1.4(c) Curriculum: the right to a neutral education not a religious integrated curriculum

2.1.4(d) Teaching: the right of minorities to equal access to the teaching profession

Problems

2.2.1 Patronage: multiple patronage and ethos leads to segregation and inequality

2.2.2 Access: the right to attend a local school without religious discrimination

2.2.3 Curriculum: the right to a neutral education not a religious integrated curriculum

2.2.3(a) Opting out of Religious instruction classes and worship

2.2.3(b) No objective teaching about religion, beliefs and ethics

2.2.4 Teaching: the right of minorities to equal access to the teaching profession

2.2.4(a) Recognition of Qualifications to Teach Catholic Religious Education

Part 3 — Prejudice-Motivated Crime & Freedom of Expression

This is the submission made by Atheist Ireland to the Department of Justice Consultation
on Hate Crime and Hate Speech in December 2019.

3.1 The Law Should Say ‘Prejudice-Motivated Crime’ Not ‘Hate Crime’

3.2 The Law Must Not Become a Blasphemy Law by Another Name

3.3 Tackle Prejudice with Education, Tackle Crime with the Law

3.4 Tackling Prejudice against Groups through Education and Leadership

3.5 The Law Should be Based on Human Rights Principles

3.6 The Rabat Plan of Action

3.7 Recent UN Special Rapporteur Report on:

(a) Application of Human Rights Law to ‘Hate Speech’

(b) Application of Human Rights Law to Online ‘Hate Speech’

(c) Recommendations for States

(d) Recommendations for Online Companies

3.8 Police Operational Guidelines in the United Kingdom

3.9 Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989

3.10 Conclusion

Atheist Ireland

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