Religious blasphemy should be a human right not a punishable act. 8,183 atheists, agnostics and secularists agree and have signed a petition initiated by the Australian organization, Human Rights For Atheists, Agnostics and Secularists addressed to Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, because
Blasphemy laws are used to infringe upon human rights. They frequently lead to arbitary arrest, detention, poor treatment in custody including torture, dubious legal procedures and poor application of justice. The definition of the offence can be in the hands of police and judicial authorities. Governments have used blasphemy laws to silence political opponents. Individuals have fabricated blasphemy charges against others in communal disputes. Religious extremists have used blasphemy laws to attack opponents. Religious authorities have used blasphemy laws to impose orthodoxy on members minority religious groups with the sanction of the state. And people accused of blasphemy have been subject to violence by unofficial mobs.
Numerous Canadians have signed the letter:
We the signers humbly ask you to consider both a human rights petition and concern shared by a growing number of people persecuted for non-belief in religious dogma, including millions of atheists and agnostics around the world. Both the petition and the concern regard the proposed enactment and enforcement of so-called blasphemy laws and their offshoots such as defamation of religion and religious-insult “hate speech” legislation, in member states. The reality is that these blasphemy laws and “hate speech” legislation violate the cornerstone rights of freedom of expression, thought and conscience, tenuously upheld by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976), Articles 18 and 19 in particular. . . .
Add your name to theirs; please sign the petition to ensure human rights for atheists, agnostics and secularists.