MARCH 15, 2015 by Stephen McLaren
Humanist Ethos

IHEU has the vision of a secular world in which human rights are respected and everyone is able and enabled to live all aspects for a life of dignity. Its worldwide  mission is to develop and represent Humanism, defending human rights and promoting humanist values.

Representation on international bodies

The central core role and function of IHEU is to represent the humanist movement at the United Nations and other international bodies, promoting humanist values within the world community.

IHEU is an international NGO with Special Consultative Status with the UN in New York, Vienna and Geneva where we take part at the Human Rights Council and the Committee on the Rights of the Child. We have General Consultative Status at UNICEF (New York) and the Council of Europe (Strasbourg), and maintain operational relations with UNESCO (Paris). IHEU also has observer status at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

At the UN in New York, the IHEU representation follows the work of the General Assembly and some of the committees, as well as taking active part in the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief.  At the UN in Geneva, the IHEU delegation is closely following the work of the UN Human Rights Council, and taking active part in the activities of the council and the other NGO’s there.  Much of the work of the international representatives is reported as news on the IHEU website. A summary of the activities for each year is included in the Annual Report presented by the Executive Committee to the General Assembly.


The long term strategic aims of  IHEU are:

  • to promote Humanism throughout the world as the umbrella organisation for non-theistic life stances.
  • to represent humanists within the international community defending human rights and the rights of non-theistic life views.
  • to build and develop organised Humanism in every part of the world.

In pursuit of its aims, we will:

  • promote the worldview of Humanism in both name and the ‘happy human’ symbol
  • promote the IHEU Amsterdam Declaration of 2002
  • promote freedom of expression and of thought, conscience, religion and belief
  • work for secularism throughout the world
  • focus on activities that are best undertaken by a global organisation
  • work closely with its member organisations in support of their campaigns and activities
  • bring its members together at both congress and regional groups
  • continue to support the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO)
  • use strategic alliances in pursuit of  its aims. Our members are organisations which support the vision and mission of IHEU, having similar goals. (In some cases their own aims and approach may focus on particular issues, or may  be more adapted to their local political and cultural situation.)