President explains international Humanist work

  • post Type / Conferences
  • Date / 13 April 2011

IHEU president Sonja Eggerickx was among a distinguished roster of speakers at the 70th Annual Conference of the  American Humanist Association. The conference, from April 7 through 10, 2011, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was attended by more than 450 people. Sonja gave the following brief summary of the IHEU and its activities:

International Humanist and Ethical Union

The International Humanist and Ethical Union is the world union of more than 100 humanist, rationalist, secular, ethical culture, atheist and freethought organizations from more than 40 countries.

As a federation of national and regional humanist groups, IHEU supports the global humanist movement, fosters the growth of new humanist groups, and represents the interests of humanists at international forums. IHEU currently has seven part-time staff—based in India, Nigeria, UK, US, and Uganda—and many volunteers around the world.

IHEU’s work is made possible by the financial support of its member organizations and individual donors.

International Representation

IHEU maintains active delegations to the United Nations (UN) in New York and Geneva, UNESCO in Paris, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in the Gambia.

For the past decade IHEU has campaigned against moves by Islamic states to introduce a global blasphemy law. It looks like this year we will finally succeed in stopping this blasphemy resolution.

IHEU makes dozens of formal statements every year at the UN Human Rights Council. Recently, IHEU has received global media coverage for making the first ever criticism at the UN of the role of the Holy See in the systematic cover up of child abuse within the Catholic Church.


IHEU runs several major campaigns and programmes around the world. Our campaign against “untouchability” focuses attention on discrimination that afflicts nearly 250 million people around the world. Other IHEU campaigns focus on the twin problems of witchcraft and witch hunts in Africa.

Growth and Development

IHEU is working with dozens of new Humanist groups around the world, many of them in Africa. We provide more than $100,000 a year to help humanist groups in the developing world.


IHEU publishes a quarterly magazine International Humanist News, along with an annual edition of a French-language publication. Our website continues to be a popular resource for the global Humanist community, with several new stories posted every week.


Every three years IHEU holds the Humanist World Congress. This year it will be hosted by the Norwegian Humanist Association, in Oslo, on 12-14 August 2011. The Norwegian Humanist Association is one of the most successful humanist groups in the world with more than 75,000 members in a country with fewer than 5 million people. The congress theme is “Humanism and Peace”. We invite you all to come and meet the Humanist World this summer: http://www.human.no/oslo2011

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