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Protect Humanists at Risk

In many parts of the world, humanists, atheists and other non-religious people are routinely persecuted for their beliefs.

In repressive societies like this, people are often forced to hide their beliefs and values, to avoid discrimination, prison terms, or even death – be it from state-sanctioned punishment or vigilante violence. 

But there are some individuals who do speak up, despite the serious personal risks involved. People who advocate for human and scientific progress, social reforms, and a culture of tolerance and freedom.

Will you help to protect them and defend their right to live a non-religious life? 

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Humanists are often at the forefront of many progressive battles, such as: secularism, democracy, womens’ rights, LGBTI+ rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, anti-racism and critical thinking. But in many countries, sharing values like these can have serious consequences.

Freedom of Thought Report 2021 blasphemy statistics

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Your donation could provide a lifeline to someone with nowhere else to turn.

Every month, on average, we receive more than 20 requests for help from individuals across the globe who are at direct threat for voicing their humanist beliefs – and the number of requests is increasing all the time. Many of the requests for help come from Pakistan, Egypt and Iran, followed by many other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

“My curious mind has led me to exploring questions about science and Humanist philosophy. Becoming an atheist as a result of my curiosity, and on some occasions, openly discussing scientific issues and evolution even with my closest friends has put me in trouble. In Afghanistan nothing ends without a reference to God. That reference to god always stopped me from further exploring things openly with people. So I had to explore and talk to like-minded people on social media and Facebook, with, of course, a pseudonym, and openly challenge them and openly ask questions to satisfy my curiosity. The problems I will be facing if my atheistic views become apparent will be too grave, not only from authorities but also from my work colleagues and even my family. When my colleagues go to the mosque to pray I have to go with them, to avoid suspicion or I may be brutally murdered“— a testimonial from the Freedom of Thought report

Thanks to our members and supporters, Humanists International is the only NGO that employs a dedicated Humanists at Risk coordinator. However it simply would not be possible to continue to provide this service without the ongoing support of the global humanist community.

Your donation could help to:

  • Pay for relocation costs: in most cases humanists at risk need money and trusted contacts to relocate to a safer place, either internally in their own country or abroad.
  • Cover living costs: often humanists at risk need financial support to survive while in hiding i.e. money to buy food, clothes, and to rent a temporary shelter where to hide.
  • Hire legal assistance: in other more urgent cases humanists at risk need money to hire a lawyer ready to support them with legal advice in court or while in prison.
  • Raise their cases in international fora: we need resources to attend meetings of the United Nations, the African Commission, the Council of Europe and other human rights bodies, and to put international pressure on governments who are persecuting humanists at risk in their own countries.
  • Advocate on their behalf “behind the scenes”: non-public advocacy is an essential part of our work, particularly in the context of humanists at risk, where it is important to act with discretion and tact in order to preserve their safety.

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Humanists currently at risk

Your donation will ensure we can support as many people as possible.

Last year we spent £15,269 in emergency grants to help 149 humanists in 35 countries. Donations to our campaign helped people to get back on their feet and start a new life, paying for medical expenses, legal fees and relocation costs, including travel, rent and food.

We were also able to signpost people to local organizations (including our Members and Associates) to support people who are left isolated. We supported asylum claims of those forced to flee their homeland due to the persecution they experienced for their humanist beliefs. And we led high-profile public campaigns and advocacy actions.

Year on year, the number of requests we receive continues to increase and although Humanists International is a global NGO, we are still a very small team with limited resources. Every donation we receive is used wisely to help as many people as possible, prioritizing those at the greatest risk and whom we know we are best positioned to help.

If you believe every humanist should have the right to live a life free from persecution, please show your solidarity and support with a donation today. With your support, we can continue to help as many people as possible in the weeks and months ahead.

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Good to know

Humanists International is an international NGO founded in 1952 with a track record of success when it comes to supporting people at risk of religious persecution. The money raised by this appeal will be used to support humanists at risk, including the associated campaigning, support and legal costs. Humanists International 2020 is a Scottish (UK) charity no. SC050629. 

If you are donating on behalf of a group or organization, we will share your kind contribution on our social media channels and on our new campaign supporters page, so you can share the news with your members and supporters. We will confirm this with you beforehand, should you prefer to opt out.

We are currently using JustGiving to process our campaign donations. JustGiving adds a small contribution on top of your donation to cover the processing costs however this is optional. You can change the contribution amount or if you would prefer not to add this, simply choose ‘other’ and set the amount to zero. If you would prefer to give by bank transfer, please email [email protected]

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