The Co-President of the European Parliamentary Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance has called for greater recognition of the rights of the non-religious under “freedom of religion or belief”, which are increasingly violated by many states.
the European Union’s “external actions” (internationally outside the EU). The letter was written with input from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and cites the IHEU Freedom of Thought Report as a major source of evidence.
The letter to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, was a response to growing hostility to the non-religious and an appeal to the EU to promote the rights of non-religious believers in the world.
The Intergroup Co-President Dennis de Jong MEP outlined the situation of non-religious believers, and wrote
“It is imperative that more is done to fight the persecution of the non-religious believers in the world. Many of the issues that they face are similar to the issues that religious minorities face. Apostasy and blasphemy laws are used to marginalise and demonise both religious and non-religious minorities.”The letter (available as a PDF from the Intergroup website) further makes specific practical recommendations, including that the High Representative should look to implementing the 2013 EU Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and working with the few organised groups representing non-religious persons including IHEU.