As a supporter of the American Humanist Association, I am sure you are familiar with the discrimination faced by humanists in the US—but are you aware of the persecution faced by other humanists around the world?
For example, did you know that according to the Freedom of Thought Report 2020:
- 17 countries across the globe punish apostasy, 12 with death sentences;
- 68 countries punish blasphemy, 8 with potential death sentences;
- In 15 countries it is illegal or practically impossible to run a humanist organization.
That being the case, it is no surprise that every year Humanists International receives hundreds of requests for help from humanists at risk worldwide—and that’s why, on June 29th, for the fifth year in a row, Humanists International launched a fundraising campaign to #ProtectHumanistsAtRisk: justgiving.com/campaign/protect-humanists-at-risk
When we say “humanists at risk”, we are referring to activists who advocate for human and scientific progress, social reforms, and a culture of tolerance and freedom. In this regard, humanists are often at the forefront of many progressive battles: secularism, democracy, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, anti-racism, critical thinking, and so on.
But in some countries, humanists have their hands tied and their mouths gagged by oppressive forces of all sorts. For this reason, many humanists are forced to censor themselves and to live their lives “in the closet”. Otherwise, they risk discrimination, persecution, prison terms, or even death—be it from state-sanctioned punishment or vigilante violence.
When this happens, Humanists International is here to help. In the last 12 months, for example, we have received 200 requests for help and we have been able to assist a total of 72 individuals at risk.
As you can see from the graphs above, 82 percent of these requests come from men and at least 58 percent come from humanists with a Muslim background—this number would likely be higher if we could identify the religious background of all individuals at risk that contact us.
The majority of requests for help come from the following ten countries:
- Morocco and Yemen (tie)
In the last 12 months, we have distributed a total of £26,790 (approximately $37,098) in emergency grants to help activists at risk with costs including medical expenses, legal fees, relocation costs, and general subsistence needs such as rent and food.
A big part of this fund has been allocated to assist Mubarak Bala, the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, who has been detained arbitrarily without charge for 428 days. For more information about Mubarak’s case, please visit: freemubarakbala.org
Now, Humanists International needs your help to continue this important work.
We are experiencing a cruel paradox: the better we get at assisting humanists at risk, the more other individuals come to know about our work and contact us. To help them, we need more resources. That’s why we need the support of the global humanist community. Without you, we will not be able to assist the less fortunate humanists amongst us.
That’s why we ask you to donate to the #ProtectHumanistsAtRisk campaign today. Any amount will help. And if you want to further support the work of Humanists International, please consider joining us as an Individual Supporter: humanists.international/support-usd