Advocacy statements

Right to Science: Threats to science, sex education, and abortion access, by Christian Right

  • Date / 2024
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights

Humanists International

55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (26 February to 5 April 2024)

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights


Thank you Mr President, and we thank the Special Rapporteur for her timely Report.

The right to participate in and access the benefits of science is vital and it is important that it is recognized to the fullest extent, in its universality, and with regards to the intersectional nature of human rights. To this end, we echo the Special Rapporteur’s call to avoid both exclusionary processes and an exclusionary definition of science.[1]

One of the major challenges to the right to science identified by the Special Rapporteur is disinformation.[2] Disinformation campaigns are particularly prevalent against comprehensive sexuality education and abortion.[3] Religious fundamentalism is at the heart of these organized, well-funded, and well-coordinated campaigns.[4] This disinformation proliferates across every region and preys on people’s fears and misconceptions, stigmatizing sexual and gender minorities, while it reaffirms the importance of religious dogma.[5] Education is one vital step to combatting this disinformation, as it combats the misconceptions on which malign actors feed,[6] and ensuring information is free flowing and open to debate is crucial.

Religious morality via blasphemy laws has also been used to stifle scientific progress by repressing critical thinking, and silencing researchers and academics in the area of science who have challenged the status quo or the policies of those in power.

With this in mind, can the Rapporteur provide guidance on how to better combat the challenges posed by disinformation and the weaponization of religious morality in the area of science, particularly from the religious right?

Thank you

[1] https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/A-HRC-55-44-AEV.docx [Paras. 22-29]

[2] https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/A-HRC-55-44-AEV.docx [Paras. 73, 79, 95(d)]

[3] https://www.ipas.org/resource/false-pretenses-the-anti-comprehensive-sexuality-education-agenda-weaponizing-human-rights/; https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2023.2195913

[4] https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/trump-us-christian-spending-global-revealed/

[5] https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2012/national-organization-marriage-continues-spread-lies-about-gays; https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-watch-international

[6] https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000368231

Suggested academic reference

'Right to Science: Threats to science, sex education, and abortion access, by Christian Right', Humanists International

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