Three Nations on the U.N. Human Rights Council Can Put a Person To Death for Being an Atheist

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 26 2013 1:35 PM

Three Nations on the U.N. Human Rights Council Can Put a Person To Death for Being an Atheist

84440890
Ariane Sherine, Richard Dawkins, and Polly Toynbee pose for pictures beside a London bus displaying "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life"

Photo by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Late last year, the International Humanist and Ethical Union released a report on atheist discrimination that, among other things, named the the seven countries where you can be put to death for being an atheist. On Monday, the organization spoke about anti-atheist discrimination around the globe to the U.N. Human Rights Council, a panel that includes three member states—Pakistan, Mauritania, and Maldives—that were on that not-so-illustrious list. Awkward.

The IHEU's findings aren't new to the U.N.; they presented their full report to them at its December release. But there's some context here that has apparently prompted the group to resubmit their findings to the council, as reported by Reuters: a competing effort by a body of Muslim majority countries (the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation to be exact) to secure international condemnation and restrictions on "defamtion of religion," something the IHEU opposes. That's because, as detailed in their 2012 report, laws that criminalize atheism and non-belief are often framed as blasphemy laws. Muslim majority countries account for the bulk of the more brutal laws against atheists on the books worldwide, but United States and some European countries were also singled out in the full IHEU report. You can read the full report here.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?