Nieuws van Humanists International

door Elizabeth O’Casey
Director of Advocacy, Humanists International

I have just come back from the UN Human Rights Council, and I want to tell you in detail about what we were doing there on behalf of humanists globally.

As many of you know, last year was a strange time for our “diplomatic relations”. Along with other human rights NGOs, we were blamed by the United States as part of the reason they quit the Council! This was after we had expressed regret that they were leaving and recommited ourselves to working to build on the Council’s successes, as well aiming to fix its faults.

I mention this because it’s an important part of how we approach our advocacy work at the UN and elsewhere. It’s not about blindly accepting institutions, as if they are fixed and unassailable. On the contrary we actively call for much-needed reforms.

But whatever the imperfections, the world needs multilateralist institutions. The world needs univeral human rights. The world needs the principles of justice and reason. We must work together to achieve this.

In today’s climate, in which many populist leaders actively malign human rights, minorities, and internationalism, the above can almost sound naive. But we remain committed to our humanist values. We work to ensure that the current downturn toward nationalism and against multilateralism and human rights is a blip against the wider story of human progress.

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