BHA and British Muslims for Secular Democracy join forces at the UN Human Rights Council to call for action on hate crime and racism

27 September, 2016

palais-des-nationsThe British Humanist Association (BHA), in a joint statement with British Muslims for a Secular Democracy (BMSD) and Arab Humanists, has spoken out against rising hate crime in the UK following the EU referendum, and the segregationist religious curriculum mandated by the Egyptian authorities at the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

In a general debate concerning racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance, the BHA drew attention to the recent report from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which expressed its concern at the ‘sharp increase in the number of racist hate crimes…in the weeks prior to and following the referendum on the membership of the European Union’. They also commented that ‘many politicians and prominent political figures not only failed to condemn it, but also created and entrenched prejudices’. The BHA pointed out that this means that not only is the state failing to adequately counter the growing popularity of discriminatory attitudes practise, but state actors themselves are complicit in whipping up anti-migrant sentiment.

BMSD, Arab Humanists, and the BHA went on to criticise the segregationist religious curriculum mandated by the Egyptian government, which requires Muslim and Christian students to take Islamic and Christian courses respectively, neither of which mention non-monotheistic faiths, or those who lack faith. Religious minority students and the non-religious are not permitted to opt out. The BHA pointed out that such policies are likely to reinforce sectarianism and will do nothing to challenge the ongoing religiously motivated violence, such as the recent case involving a 70 year old Christian woman being stripped naked, and seven Christian homes being ransacked and torched, all because of a rumour the woman’s son was having an affair with a Muslim woman.

The joint intervention ended by reminding states of their commitment to the elimination of racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance, and urged them to review their legislation such that this goal can be realised.


For further comment or information, contact Pavan Dhaliwal, Director of Public Affairs and Policy at or on 0773 843 5059.

Read the full statement here:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethically and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.