We take our work to support humanists seriously. Humanists International is a small team with limited resources to help. To ensure that the support you receive is of the highest quality that we have to offer, we have to limit the numbers of individuals we support at any one time.
As a result we are not able to support all of the legitimate requests for support we receive. While we are unable to help you, there may be others who can. Below you will find information on a whole range of topics and organizations that may be able to help:
For many of us in the non-religious community, we are aware that posting online can expose us to particular risk of threats, attack or arrest. Online activists/human rights defenders are easy to track online. Some brilliant people work on minimizing the dangers of your online presence by sharing their knowledge on how to take precautions. They give you tools and tactics for your digital security.
Many of those who reach out to us are seeking assistance to relocate abroad and seek asylum. In some cases, this may be necessary to ensure your safety. However, often relocating for a short period of time, or relocating within your country may actually be a better option.
Relocating internally, may allow you to start again in a place where you are less known where you can maintain a low profile, while also enabling you to settle in more easily. It is often easier to find employment in your home country, for instance. Unfortunately, keeping a low profile and concealing one’s beliefs is one of the best ways to keep safe for many of us across the globe
The below international organizations offer opportunities for relocation abroad. The majority of these opportunities are temporary in duration, ranging from 3 months to two years. Few organizations are in a position to help someone relocate permanently with more than the provision of funding (see ‘Grants’ for more information).
Many of the requests we receive are from non-religious individuals living closeted lives in highly religious societies where they cannot speak openly. While we would say you should not have to live in a situation where you are forced to be secret and silent about your views, it is unfortunately very difficult to claim asylum abroad in such situations.
In theory, countries should take into account that you have the right to freedom of thought and expression, and that currently you cannot exercise those rights. However, it can be difficult to provide enough evidence to prove that you have a “well-founded fear of persecution”.
If you have not already, we recommend that you keep a record of any threats that you receive, and consider reporting them to the police to obtain a police report, which can also be used as evidence in an asylum claim. Other documents, such as hospital reports can also serve as useful evidence.
Asylum processes vary depending on the country, however, in all circumstances you should seek to claim asylum at the earliest opportunity. You can do this by speaking with a border agent or going to a local UNHCR office to register, where possible. More information on the process of claiming asylum is available here: https://help.unhcr.org/faq/
Useful information on the Dublin Agreement, which operates across most of Europe, can be found here: https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/25622/the-dublin-regulation–your-questions-answered
An alternative to travelling abroad and claiming asylum can be relocating within your country. This is often one of the best ways of keeping oneself safe in our community. It may also mean you are more able to assimilate as you speak the language, understand the customs and may find it easier to secure employment.
When applying for an emergency grant, it is always best to have a clear idea of a budget, based on realistic estimates. Most of these funds are limited or one-off, so it is important that you consider what the essential costs you have to cover are and the duration for which you will need for them to be covered. Few organizations offer long term financial support; many will seek to know what your longer-term plan to support yourself will be.
According to the UN definitions, you are a human rights defender (HRD) if you, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights in a peaceful manner.
Human rights defenders seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and realization of economic, social and cultural rights.
Human rights defenders are identified above all by what they do (for a list, please see the UN OHCHR’s website).
One of the best places to go should you be a human rights defender in need of assistance is Protect Defenders. A European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism, Protect Defenders, provides a range of support to human rights defenders across the globe, including a 24hr help desk, emergency grants and temporary relocation. They also provide capacity building.
If you are a writer, artist or cultural actor facing persecution, one of the best resources you can go to is ARC – Artists at Risk Connection, which hosts a comprehensive database of programmes dedicated to assisting you. You can also visit: http://www.artistsafety.net/. However, below you will find a few of the key groups that provide support in the forms of temporary relocation, emergency grants, and campaigning.
There are lots of organisations out there ready to help:
ILGA World – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – is a worldwide federation of more than 1,700 organisations from over 160 countries and territories campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex human rights. On their website you can find lists of local organizations who may be able to help and advise you.
Generally, the worst countries for humanists, and the non-religious more broadly, tend to also be the worst countries for women. In these countries, women are doubly oppressed: on the one hand, by harmful religious practices; on the other, by systemic patriarchal oppression.
Women in our community report facing a range of challenges; they often report facing such challenges as forced marriages, domestic abuse or limited access to forms of communication.
Due to the specificity of such challenges, you may not find resources on all issues here.
Humanists International is a proud member of the European Union Temporary Relocation Programme
If you believe every humanist should have the right to a life free from persecution, please show your solidarity and support with a donation to our annual fundraiser today. With your support, we can continue to help as many people as possible in the weeks and months ahead.