Humanists UK at UN calls for abolition of death penalty for blasphemy and apostasy

13 September, 2019

Humanists UK has urged all countries to abolish the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy at the 42th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Humanists UK’s representative Farah Mohammed told the UN, ‘Fourteen states still impose such punishments, including Pakistan where no evidence is required to prosecute a charge of blasphemy, and there are no penalties for making false allegations, and in two states in Malaysia where apostasy is an offence punishable by death.’

‘In light of such concerns we call upon member states to recognise that blasphemy and apostasy are actions whose very criminalisation violates freedom of expression, and freedom of religion or belief. We further call upon member states to continue to work towards the universal abolition of the death penalty.’

In welcoming a commitment from Malaysia to abolish the death penalty, Ms Mohammed reminded the UN that under Human Rights Council Resolution 36/17, that where still used capital pubishment should at least be restricted to only the most serious of crimes, and not to actions, such as blasphemy and apostasy, that should not be criminalised in the first instance.

Humanists UK is a member of the End Blasphemy Laws coalition.


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078.

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