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Appeal by representatives of Central European humanist movements to the European Commission, to member states of the EU, and to Human Rights Organisations.

The delegates of humanist organisations from the Czech, Poland, and Slovak republics convened - under the aegis of the International Humanist and Ethical Union- on September 27-29, 2001 in Bratislava, to evaluate the status of the communities of citizens claiming no religious belief (non-denominational citizens) in their particular countries, and to propose measures to national and international bodies for improving their position and ensuring their social, cultural and legal rights.

After a comprehensive analysis of the current situation in each particular country - with reference to article 1.) of the UN Resolution 53/144. Declaration on the Rights and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (8 March, 1999), we are forwarding to governments of the aforesaid nations and to international bodies this

SUBMISSION

Considering that the fundamental principle in the practical policy of every democratic state is to treat all of the citizens equally as incorporated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10.12.1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (16.12.1966.) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966),

Remembering that the tragic events in Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia and numerous other countries in the world have occurred, in part, because the relevant governments did not implement PARITY in respect to the rights, freedoms and advantages of all the communities in their states,

Aware that, international bodies did not direct and guide the relevant governments in efforts to reduce the tension that lead to violent confrontations between the communities,

WE APPEAL

  1. To the governments of the Central European transforming democracies, asking them to strictly observe their duties to RESPECT, PROTECT and FULFIL the cultural rights of their communities of non-denominational citizens in accordance with the injunctions of "Maastricht Guidelines on Violation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights " (January 22,1997).
  2. To the governments of the said countries, to adjust their legal texts (insofar as they have not yet done so) to accommodate the above mentioned obligations with the object of securing full equality in state policy with regard to the treatment of their non-denominational citizens in both institutional and financial matters and in accordance with the resolution of NGOs having consultative status with the Council of Europe (issued in Strasbourg on April 24, 2001).
  3. To all international bodies monitoring the observance of basic human rights in the transforming Central European democracies to closely monitor PARITY in the practice of state policy in relation to non-denominational communities of citizens as they have done in regards to other communities - such as national and ethnic minorities including the Roma minorities. (Comment: The currently disadvantaged non-denominational communities in these countries constitute the largest "minorities" – nevertheless, the human rights organisations have so far ignored their problems.)

We propose those human rights organisations MONITOR and REPORT on the situation of non-denominational communities in each country, and assess their standard of treatment by state authorities as compared to the treatment of religious communities in accordance with international laws and conventions.

4) To the Council of Europe and all the member states of the EU (with reference to Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty) asking them, to take steps to avert any form of discrimination against non-denominational communities in the transforming Central European democracies that aspire to become members of the EU, and to require as a condition of their acceptance in the EU that they employ the same standards in the treatment of both religious and non-religious communities that are found in the majority of EU member states.

Executive director, IHEUBabu R.Gogineni

Representatives of Central European humanist movements

Czech republic: doc.Jozef Haubelt……………………………………………….

Poland :Andrzej Dominiczak………………………………………………………

Slovak republic prof Ladislav Hubenαk……………    prof Alexander Rehαk………………

September 29, 2001

 


 

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