Jubilee Campaign (10.10.2022) – Website – On 10th October 2022, over 90 individuals and organisations have signed a Charter calling on countries which continue mandate the death penalty for non-violent conduct, including apostasy and blasphemy, to repeal such laws. Apostasy and blasphemy laws violate core tenets of freedom of religion and belief and expression.
Apostasy and blasphemy laws not only have a chilling effect on a plethora of human rights but place individuals accused under threat of torture from state and non-state actors. This was brought up during the Human Rights Council in a statement delivered by Yemeni Christian convert – Musheer – the first oral statement from a Christian Yemeni. Yemen is one of the 11 countries where leaving the state interpretation of Islam can lead to the death penalty. The UN experts on torture and extrajudicial killings released a statement on the link between the death penalty and torture.
The total number of countries with the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy has reduced since the Monash University released its report Killing in the Name of God: State-Sanctioned Violations of Religious Freedom on year ago. Since the Charter was signed on, the United Arab Emirates, dropped the death penalty for apostasy, bringing the at least 12 countries which maintain the death penalty for apostasy or blasphemy down to 11.
The Charter in addition to condemning the continued sanction of the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy, also calls on states to take a concrete action and support specific language calling for the repeal of the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy in two respective resolutions the moratorium on the death penalty and extrajudicial executions.
The initial release of the Charter on 22 August 2022, International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, was followed up by the a multi-faith and multi-disciplinary delegation of members of the International Religious Freedom Summit Global Campaign to Repeal Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws visiting UN Permanent Missions in New York in mid-September. The coalition included lawyer Kola Alapinni from Nigeria who serves as the legal counsel for Yahaya Sharif-Aminu – a Sufi singer Nigerian authorities sentenced to death. They are now calling on the remaining states which are mostly Muslim-majority to: ” separate the punitive Islamic Laws from Islam,” Soraya M. Deen MA.
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Council of Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka
Eglise Protestante d’Algérie
European Office Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights
Ex-Muslims of India
Ex-Muslims of North America
Ex-Muslims of Toronto
Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe
Foundation for Religious Freedom
Fundacion para la Mejora de la Vida, la Cultura y la Sociedad
Humanists Association of Sri Lanka
Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust
International Christian Concern
International Human Rights Committee
International Institute for Religious Freedom
International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief Steering Group
International Religious Liberty Association
Jubilee Campaign Netherlands
Jubilee Campaign USA
Lumières Sans Frontières
Muslims for Progressive Values
Muslim Women Speakers
Secular Coalition for America
Set My People Free
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Tahrir Alnisa Foundation
The Clergy Project
Voice for Justice
Widows and Orphans
World Evangelical Alliance
(Formerly) from parliaments:
Baroness Caroline Cox – Founder, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust; Independent Member, United Kingdom House of Lords
Ján Figel – Former European Union Commissioner; Former European Union Freedom of Religion or Belief Special Envoy; Member, International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance Council of Experts
Farahnaz Ispahani – Former Pakistan Parliamentarian; Senior Fellow, Religious Freedom Institute
Abid Raja – Member of Parliament, Norway
Joël Voordewind – Former Member, House of Representatives of the Netherlands
Other signatories are academics, journalists, lawyers, faith leaders, human rights advocates, civil society members.