Hosted by International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) member organization, the British Humanist Association, the World Humanist Congress 2014 is now underway in Oxford, UK. The theme is “Freedom of Thought and Expression” and the IHEU World Humanist Congress will run from 8-10 August 2014.
The renowned university city of Oxford will see over 1000 atheist, humanist and other non-religious delegates taking part, including human rights and in particular freedom of expression activists and thinkers, and representing numerous IHEU member organizations and other groups. This is the first time the Congress is being held in the United Kingdom since 1978 and will be the biggest World Humanist Congress in our history.
We will be celebrating freedom of thought and expression, hear how these rights are being threatened, meet some of their inspirational defenders and explore how the humanist movement can contribute to their defence.
The Congress includes delegates from many of the 13 countries which still carry a death penalty for apostasy and countries where the rights and the freedoms of the non-religious are increasingly under threat globally from religious violence and state persecution.
With a programme of over 40 events with over 70 speakers, the Congress will touch upon subjects as diverse as history, politics, international affairs, science and philosophy.
The Congress keynote speakers bring with them a wide breadth of expertise in different fields. They are: Nobel prize winner playwright, poet and human rights defender, Wole Soyinka; United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt and award winning author, Phillip Pullman.
Bob Churchill of IHEU will discuss how IHEU members and others can contribute to the Freedom of Thought report, which encapsulates many of the issues and concerns of humanists from around the world under the theme of ‘freedom of thought and expression’.
IHEU Grants including significant funds fromm the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have facilitated numerous delegates who otherwise would not have been able to attend, and will have their own stories to tell from all over the world in their fight for freedom of expression and the difficult and at times extremely dangerous conditions under which they work.