Transcript of AAI’s oral statement presented at the Commission for Social Development, Fifty-third Session, 9th meeting, UN Headquarters, New York (Tuesday, February 10, 2015)
Researched/prepared by: Mr. Rustam Singh, AAI UN Special Consultative Status Project Lead
Delivered by: Christine M. Shellska, President, AAI
Thank you, Madam Chair, for the opportunity to speak, and to the committee for your commendable work and your commitment to sustainable social development.
Atheist Alliance International’s vision is of a secular world, where public policy, scientific inquiry and education are not influenced by religious beliefs, but based upon sound reasoning, rationality and evidence.
AAI encourages nations to follow The Guide to the Implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth, along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2, which states that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as sex or religion or other opinion, thereby including Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals.
AAI also endorses the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled, Discriminatory Laws and Practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the methods suggested therein for international human rights laws that can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
AAI condemns those nations that violate personal freedom and the choices of their citizens on the basis of sexual orientation under the purview of religious laws or other reasons.
AAI also promotes governments to cooperate at the international level and to enact and enforce legislation protecting girls and young women from genital mutilation, which is religious stigma equivalent to violence against women as defined in the World Programme of Action for Youth.
AAI offers advisory support to help suggest non-theist implementation of policies to Burkina Faso, where the WHO reports the prevalence of FGM to be at 72.5 percent.
Endorsing the concept of the worldwide equality for the religious and the non-religious, and of the rights promoted by the World Programme of Action for Youth, AAI encourages:
- State education should be secular.
Religions should have no special financial consideration in public life, such as tax-free status, or grants to run faith-based schools.
Children should be educated in critical thinking, and taught about the diversity of religious and nonreligious philosophical beliefs in an objective manner.
Science should be taught without religious interference.
- Sex education curriculum should be informed by science, not religious beliefs.
There should be a secular state healthcare system where decisions are based on compassion, human rights and the medical needs of patients.
Health care and social service providers with religious beliefs should not be allowed to discriminate on the grounds not essential to the job in question.
No religious values, activities or environments should be imposed on health and social care recipients who do not share those religious beliefs.
Finally, AAI categorically affirms that there is no right “not to be offended”. All blasphemy laws, whether explicit or implicit, should be repealed and not be enacted.
It is time to advance toward a secular world based on reason, science and compassion.