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Sheffield Humanist Society: "Freedom of Expression"

Tue 7 May 2013, 8pm at The Showroom, Paternoster Row, S1 2BX

Roy Brown, International Humanist and Ethical Union speaking. The right to freedom of expression has come under increasing pressure over recent years, not only in the developing world but here in the West. The non-aligned movement comprising more than half the member states of the United Nations mainly from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, are continuing their efforts to have the UN adopt an international law against "defamation of religion" (read "blasphemy"); to introduce "complementary standards" to further restrict freedom of expression; and by attempting to subordinating human rights to the need to respect "traditional values". In Europe governments increasingly fearful of minority pressure are seeking to reduce social tension by criminalising even the mildest insults to, and valid criticism of, religions and religious practices. But human rights are first and foremost individual rights. They do not belong to any group, nether the majority, nor any minority, but to all individuals. And freedom of expression is that right which underpins all our other rights and freedoms. Without strong protection for the right to freedom of expression we will be unable to expose discrimination, oppression and the abuse of human rights around the world, and corruption, malpractice, inefficiency and incompetence closer to home.Roy Brown is a humanist and human rights activist. He was president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) from 2003 to 2006 and is main representative of IHEU at the United Nations in Geneva.Sheffield Humanist Society

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