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  • 19 October 2011 : And the humanists?

Established in 1991, the European Humanist Federation has been playing an active part in the dialogue between the EU and religions since 1994. The place of secular humanism in this dialogue is guaranteed under article I-17.2 of the Treaty of Lisbon (2009), which itself echoes the declaration in Annex no.11 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997), situated within the tradition of the Belgian-Dutch pillarisation, in which humanist movements organised themselves against the churches, with lessons in secular morality in state schools, “moral assistants” like religious chaplains, etc.
The place it occupies seems to cause some problems, especially as the EHF protested against article I-17 throughout the Convention on the future of Europe. Paradoxically, although opposed to this article, they benefit from it….
To avoid potentially confrontational encounters while neverttheless implementing article I-17, EHF is henceforth invited to the annual summits organised under the Barroso Presidency. Representatives from religions are invited together separately.
However, the EHF feels discriminated in the implementation of article I-17, as evidenced by the complaint against the European Commission filed with the European Ombudsman on 19 October 2011 (Le Soir, 11 October 2011). The EHF is aiming for perfect parity with the churches and the opportunity to discuss directly with them issues relating to human rights (directive on non-discrimination at work, which reserves a clause for the churches and religions, freedom of research, including stem cells, homosexuals’ rights to marry and adopt children, etc.). In particular, they would like to participate in the dialogue seminars that have been bringing together only Catholic and Protestant partners since 1990. This is in fact a place for less superficial dialogue, more substantial than the briefing meetings that draw together more than eighty participants of various social importance and commitments to Europe.

To find out more, see the EHF website.

  • Report on discrimination based on religion

Report of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Combating all forms of discrimination based on religion.

D 14 December 2011   

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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