Press Releases

  • Statement to Address Discriminatory Oversight in Canadian Special Humanitarian Assistance Program for Afghan Nationals

    October 4th, 2021

    The tenuous and dangerous living circumstances in Afghanistan following the nation’s fall to the Taliban are dire for many of its citizens, especially atheists and other apostates. Humanist, atheist, and agnostic organizations in Canada represent a diverse group of people who believe that each of us has the responsibility to give meaning to our own life. Those citizens finding meaning in rethinking and rejecting the idea of supernatural entities, including gods, must be as respected as religious believers. In the spirit of the universalism of secular humanism, a consortium of Canada's many humanist, atheist and agnostic organizations have come together to urgently call upon the government to ameliorate a grave error in the Special Humanitarian Assistance Program for Afghan Nationals.

    The current policy language of the Special Humanitarian Assistance Program for Afghan Nationals is as follows:

    "There are 2 eligible groups under this program.

    Group 1:

    You may be eligible for this program if

    • you're an Afghan national
    • you're outside of Afghanistan and
    • you don't have a durable solution in a third country

    This group will include people such as

    • woman leaders
    • human rights advocates
    • journalists and people who assisted Canadian journalists
    • persecuted religious minorities
    • LGBTI individuals
    • immediate family members of one of the above

    Group 2:

    You may be eligible for this program if you're an extended family member of someone who helped the Government of Canada and has already been resettled to Canada."

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Atheist Republic calls on Canada to correct its special humanitarian assistance program for Afghan nationals which currently excludes Afghan atheists and humanists fleeing Taliban persecution.

    September 16, 2021 -- Atheist Republic has identified a critically important error in Canada's special humanitarian program for Afghan nationals announced in August 2021 which places atheist and humanist refugees at risk of exclusion from Canadian assistance. A key mistake in the program’s eligibility criteria limits assistance to Afghans who are “members of persecuted religious minorities.” The non-religious could be easily mistaken as falling outside of this criterion.

    This highly restrictive wording is not aligned with Canada’s United Nations Human Rights responsibilities to protect “freedom of religion or belief” and which defines refugees as those who are “unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion” (see 1951 UN Refugee Convention).

    In view of this error and other omissions to its August 2021 special humanitarian program and special immigration program for Afghan nationals, Atheist Republic calls on Canada:

  • We, a coalition of secular, humanist, and atheist organizations in the Philippines, stand against the Magna Carta of Religious Freedom in its current form. We feel that the authors' intentions are biased, unfair, and violating the very purpose of the proposed bill.

    The primary author, Eddie Villanueva is a known religious leader who now holds political power in the Philippine Congress. After many years of propagating his church in a business-branching-like model, stood against the SOGIE bill and argued that “To craft a preferential law against the rights of all other sectors of the society for just one particular sector, to me this is unfair, this is class legislation…” in an interview last 2019 has now proposed a bill that will give preferential treatment in favor of religious organizations, corporations, and associations. We have nothing against religious lawmakers if they uphold their sworn oath to serve the entire nation, including those who do not have the same beliefs as theirs.

    On the explanatory note of the bill, we are also deeply concerned that the authors completely disregarded the contribution of secular people to the abolitionist movement. In contrast, slavery is justified for the longest time in some biblical passages. During the Martial Law era, though we cannot discount the participation of some religious societies, it was secular organizations that constantly abhorred the injustices, namely, the civil society.

  • Blasphemy Laws Hurt Another Person—Support Free Speech on August 17th!!!

    Vancouver, British Columbia Soheil Arabi was arrested six years ago by Iranian authorities for criticizing the prophet Muhammad. He was sentenced to death, and then his sentence was reduced to seven and a half years. Since then has been tortured regularly and was severely injured on April 29, 2019. His life is now in danger. Reports indicate that he is suffering from testicular swelling due to torture. His nose has been fractured, and it's difficult for him to breathe. He is also in experiencing problems with his heart. Atheist Republic has been informed that a few days ago Soheil's mother, Farangis Mazlum, was also arrested.

    People are rallying in cities all over the world to free Soheil and to protest blasphemy laws. Join the Atheist Republic in front of the Iranian Embassy in your city between 6-8 pm on August 17, 2019.