In the wake of great political upheavals in Europe, as well as overpopulation and oppression in many countries in the third world, the number of refugees and emigrants, immigrants is growing fast, and – as a consequence – ethnic conflicts are intensifying. An unsound type of nationalism, as well as religious fundamentalism and cultural chauvinism, heightens the tension, and we experience an increase of wars and violence. Some ethnic groups will regard themselves as superior to others, and consequently entitled to suppress and exterminate other groups. The resulting fight for political, economical, and territorial privileges will lead to an increasing tendency towards racism.
We regret that extreme groups in many countries may resort to violence against refugees and immigrants. Extreme right wing groups are trying to spread ideas inspired by the growth of neo-nazism.
In our opinion, those tendencies should be effectively counteracted. An active defence of Human Rights whenever they are threatened is an absolute prerequisite for the integrity and worth, and for the co-existence of human beings.
Humanists wish to take part in an active, public and social-ethical combat against racism and neo-nazism in our societies.
In order to prevent racism and neo-nazism from being accepted, it is necessary to create an understanding of humanist values.
The communication of values given at schools should be strengthened and developed by emphasising the ethical ideals that many religious or philosophical groups have adopted. Members of our humanist movement will do their best to keep those ideals alive, concrete and understandable.
It is in the practical work for solidarity and on a social-ethical basis that human values will materialise and become real for young people.
The unfortunate lack of presentation of historical continuity in today’s media, in our view, will make us forget the cost of defending our ideals of freedom and humanism.
Many countries have a solid tradition of democracy and justice. But democracy is not only a way of governing, it is also a way of living. Among other things it does concern;
The principles of legal systems are important for ensuring the preservation of humanist ideals. Both politically and in court, it is necessary to maintain that no kind of discrimination is acceptable. We claim that despising weakness is one of the conditions for neo-nazi growth.
As humanists we hold the opinion that an active fight for values is the best way of counteracting the indifference among people, which enables racists and neo-nazis to get approval of their outlook on people with a different colour or a different ethnic or cultural background. We do not believe that this problem can be solved by keeping it in the dark.
The increase of migration challenges us to be aware of the manifold possibilities and resources which can be developed in our countries. Politicians are responsible for preventing groups from antagonising each other. The conditions offered refugees and immigrants should be arranged so that they do not provoke unnecessary conflicts in our societies.
We have seen how local communities have become engaged in anti-racism, for example by turning their back on racist provokers. Others have shown an active solidarity with refugees who have been threatened or had their right to asylum violated. We also give our support to the action against racism that many political youth organisations have joined. Young members of our own humanist movement have taken the initiative in gathering and mobilising democratically motivated anti-racists and anti-nazis. Our movement approves of these initiatives.
By way of discussions, meetings, publications and practical solidarity actions based on social-ethical principles, humanists wish to contribute to winning this important conflict of values – for the sake of humankind.
IHEU Board meeting 1993
'Any Kind of Racism and Nazism', Humanists International, Board of Directors, 1993