INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IS CRITICAL

(Washington, DC) “At a time when the White House dismisses the role of the United Nations as irrelevant, the need for international cooperation is especially critical,” states Fred Edwords, Editorial Director of the American Humanist Association.

“Humanists recognize the need for stronger international responses and united actions to prevent and respond to crimes against humanity. The raging genocide in Darfur, Sudan, illustrates the need for a swift, strong, and just international response. The international rule of law must have a mechanism for evaluating potential acts of genocide and other preventable crimes against humanity,” adds Edwords.

HUMANISTS URGE U.S. TO JOIN INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

In pursuit of establishing the highest ethical principles as standards for the international rule of law, the AHA urges the United States to join the International Criminal Court in a resolution passed this weekend. The International Criminal Court is vital to global justice and would enforce real consequences for crimes against humanity.

“In order for world peace to ever be realized a strong system of consequences must be implemented. The International Criminal Court sends the message to the world: that those involved will be held responsible for atrocities,” continues Edwords.

HUMANISTS SUPPORT U.N. MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

The AHA also unanimously passed a resolution in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs stand in stark contrast to the Bush Administration’s “go it alone strategy,” continues Edwords. The resolution states, “Humanists recognize that it’s the obligation of every nation to build a safer, more prosperous, and equitable world.” Even the U.S.’s MDG awareness campaign is largely faith-based and excludes family planning and reproductive health organizations. Furthermore, the Bush administration suggested that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, should take a reprieve from issuing grants. This action raises concerns that delaying funds to combat HIV/AIDS, which is one of the eight goals of the MDGs, will cost lives. “The MDGs represent the first step toward a world where the inherent worth and dignity is a real achievable objective for every person,” Edwords concludes.

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Here are the resolutions:

AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION ON THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT November 2004 ~ Albuquerque, NM

The twentieth century was perhaps the most violent in history as genocide and ethnic hatred raged. Recognition for stronger international responses and united actions to prevent and respond to crimes against humanity is needed. Modern genocide exemplifies the need for a swift, strong, and just international response. The international rule of law must have a mechanism for reviewing possible acts of genocide and other preventable crimes against humanity.

WHEREAS Humanists believe in the peaceful adjudication of differences by international courts; and

WHEREAS, genocide, acts of terrorism, war crimes, and other crimes against humanity are too often committed with impunity;

WHEREAS, the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION asserts that an effective international court is necessary to bring justice to the perpetrators of these terrible crimes;

WHEREAS, the International Criminal Court is bound to the same standards of independence, and fairness as those in proficient national court systems;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION, in pursuit of establishing the highest ethical principles as standards for the international rule of law, urges the United States to join the International Criminal Court.

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AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION ON THE UNITED NATIONS MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS November 2004 ~ Albuquerque, NM

Humanists recognize that the problems of economic growth and development can no longer be resolved by one nation alone; they are worldwide in scope. It is the obligation of every nation to build a safer, more prosperous, and equitable world.

WHEREAS the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION affirms the notion that societies should not evaluate themselves by rhetoric or ideology, but by whether or not they increase the well being for all individuals and groups, minimize poverty and hardship, increase the sum of human satisfaction, and enhance the quality of life;

WHEREAS Humanists recognize the global community’s shared ethical responsibility to achieve the basic needs that lay the foundation for a sustainable society;

WHEREAS all 191 nations in the United Nations have pledged their commitment to achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015;

WHEREAS Humanists recognize the individual importance of the Millennium Development Goals which are: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development;

BE IT RESOLVED that the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION supports the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals.

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Humanists Geared Up for Struggle on Same-Sex Marriage

(Washington, DC) The Religious Right, bolstered by the bans on same-sex marriage that passed in eleven states, plan to push the debate further in the next Congress. “Despite these setbacks in the struggle, now is not the time to tolerate the withholding of equal rights on the basis of sexual orientation,” states Fred Edwords, editorial director of the American Humanist Association.

“It’s deplorable that the Religious Right uses discrimination against 601,209 same-sex families as a political weapon. It’s simply inexcusable to hurt families in an effort to put one narrow religious issue in the Constitution,” he adds.

Karl Rove told journalists this week, when asked if politicians should vote against same-sex marriage bans at their own risk, “I think people would be well-advised to pay attention to what the American people are saying. This is an issue on which there is a broad consensus.” Yet sixty percent of Americans favor legalizing same-sex marriage or support civil unions.

“For over six years the AHA has been pushing for equal marriage laws in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, and we won’t stop until every state respects the rights of all Americans. As most of us know instinctively, sexual orientation has no bearing on depth of commitment, ability to raise children, or overall family stability. Lesbian and gay couples deserve equal rights-not unenlightened legislation that tries to tie our society to blind tradition,” adds Tony Hileman, executive director of the AHA.

The AHA passed a resolution over the weekend on sexual equality and support of same-sex marriage. The resolution affirms, “Intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by fundamentalist religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress the right of the individual to freely and unreservedly express her/his sexuality,” and “prohibiting committed same-sex partners from legal recognition of marriage infringes on human freedom.”

Please see the resolution below:

AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION ON SEXUAL EQUALITY AND SUPPORT OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
November 2004 ~ Albuquerque, NM

Humanists are committed to values of social systems that promote liberty, maximize individual autonomy, and ensure such rights as the right to marriage and divorce, to alternate family structures, and the right to birth control and abortion. In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by fundamentalist religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. Without countenancing mindless permissiveness, a civilized society should be a tolerant one.

WHEREAS Humanists believe in the right of the individual to freely and unreservedly express her/his sexuality;

WHEREAS Humanists recognize the right of human beings to express their sexual desires and enter into sexual relationships as they see fit regardless of sexual orientation;

WHEREAS laws prohibiting committed same-sex partners from legal recognition of marriage infringes on human freedom;

WHEREAS marriage is a civil rather than a religious institution, neither state nor federal governments should exclude a group of people from receiving certain benefits, like those marriage confers, on religious grounds;

WHEREAS a civil union does not provide the legal benefits or recognition equivalent to marriage;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION recognizes that a civil union does not guarantee sexual equality or freedom from discrimination;

WHEREAS the financial, mental, emotional, and legal security that results from having legally recognized parents and spouses shall be afforded regardless of sexual orientation;

WHEREAS marriage has historically been a dynamic institution-race restrictions on marital choice have been eliminated, divorce regulations have been equalized to protect both parties, and government can no longer intrude on sexual intimacy-affording gays and lesbians the right would be the next logical change;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION reaffirms the validity of sexual equality and supports local, state, and federal action to legalize same-sex marriage.

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CHECK OUT THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE HUMANIST MANIFESTOS FOR OTHER ISSUES SUPPORTED BY HUMANISTS