A United States (US) organisation, based and mainly operating in—though the United Kingdom does have one too run by Dr. Stephen Law entitled CFI-UK—has reported on the recent decline in the human rights status of the US. The organisation is Center for Inquiry (CFI).
CFI is, more or less, a mix of different views, organisations, and themes such as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science.
One of their organisational representatives, Michael de Dora, who is the central representation to the United Nations (UN) of CFI and president of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, described the current situation for human rights in the US to the UN.
As CFI is devoted to the advancement of “reason, science, and secular humanism,” the work at the UN is important for the US and its constituency within it.
The work is important for the scientific and technological flagship status that America earned through smart immigration policy, post-secondary and professional training, and the prioritisation of big projects and initiatives to create a culture steeped in science.
At the UN Human Rights Council within Geneva, de Dora noted the declining human rights defender status of the US because of its rather regressive policies surrounding human rights for its citizens, and for its influence on human rights abroad.
In the speech, de Dora made mention of the Trump Administration’s “appeals to xenophobia, its hostility to a free press, and the rescinding of protections for transgender individuals.” CFI is devoted to human rights and dignity for everyone “at home and abroad.”
“We have been disturbed by the recent rise in baseless, xenophobic rhetoric and actions by political leaders, and heightened social hostilities, in many states…” he said, “…there has also been a wave of proposals to criminalise protests, and an increase in threats and attacks — some deadly — on religious minorities.”
He urged the government to serve as a force for good, to choose to do so too. With special consultative status to the UN, de Dora is able to advocate for humanist values in addition to freedom of expression around the world.
This includes one prominent case, who you may have heard about, in the dissident Raif Badawi, who is a Saudi and is currently imprisoned and has been for some time. He is a focal point in a larger fight to protect the freedom of thought and speech of bloggers – for example, those Bangladeshi bloggers who have been murdered by Islamists.
In the full statement by de Dora, he noted that worldwide human rights crises require immediate solutions. However, the expediting of these actions can be dampened because of the regressive acts and decisions of powerful international state actors.
“We also urge states to engage with the U.S. to ensure the protection of human rights there, and around the world,” de Dora said.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.