On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the IHEU commits itself, once again, to the principles of that Declaration. As humanists we place the highest value in a respect for the integrity of all persons. We believe that the development of inclusive communities is essential to human growth as to world peace. Our tradition, beginning with the IHEU’s predecessor organisation, the International Ethical Union (founded in 1895), reflects long and consistent support for principles of individual dignity, worth, and freedom. Internationally, it the ethical humanist movement that convened the first International Race Congress in London in 1911.
From that time to the present, through the work of our member organisations in their various countries and through our co-operative efforts with other members of the international community we have sought to give reality to human rights.
We believe the Declaration, whose anniversary we honour in this statement, to be one of the great achievements of the international community. More than mere words, it sets a goal of high purpose and standard of ideal behaviour by which we can measure the achievements of individuals, groups, and nations. We know, however, that such an ideal and such purposes can be truly effective only if the citizens of the world community dedicate themselves to its realisation. Specifically, therefore, we support the UN’s programme for a “decade for the elimination of racism”. Certainly one of the significant failures of modern society has been the continuation of racist policies and practices, or apartheid, discrimination and colonialism. The elimination of these is crucial to achieving the ends enunciated in the UN Declaration. To that end, and in co-operation with others, the IHEU will:
We know that the road to achievement of the ends of the Declaration will be long and difficult. We do not expect rapid success in overcoming habits of human relationship long established. But we know too that the world must change and that racist practises and policies are intolerable. We pledge ourselves to the long term effort involved in securing the changes that must come. On this occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the UN Declaration, we re-affirm our commitment to the long, difficult, and necessary processes of achieving a world where human integrity is respected and human rights are secured.
Executive Committee 1973
'The decade for the elimination of racism', Humanists International, Executive Committee, 1973