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Invitation – ESHR 2013

Between 24-27 May Bucharest, Romania, will host the General Assemblies of IHEU and EHF. On 25th May The Romanian Humanist Association will organize a conference with the theme “Education, Science and Human Rights”.

Below are detailed some of the reasons why it’s important to have as many international participants at these events.

Romania is a country where humanists are involved in difficult battles, trying to protect the secular state, to promote science and education and to defend the freedom of thought, conscience and religion for everybody.

In Romania the theory of evolution was taken out from the biology classes for several years, and it was reintroduced only as a result of strong pressure from the civil society and the international organizations. But the situation is not much better in the present. The creationism is taught at school from the very beginning of school, in each year, through the religion class; in the same time, the evolution of species is first mentioned in the biology class only in the eighth grade. As a result, 74% of the Romanian pupils consider that creationism is right and only 14% have this opinion about evolution.

In Romania public funds are used to build one of the largest orthodox cathedrals in Europe. Besides this, each year, there are 2000 churches that receive public funds to be built. The orthodox symbols are present in almost every classroom and in almost every public institution.

Out of the total population of around 20 million people, only 0.4% are non-religious. Out of 588 Members of the Parliament, only one used the secular oath formula with the hand on the Constitution. The other MPs used the religious formula “So help me God!” and had their hand on the Constitution and on the religious book (Bible or Koran).

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In the same time, more and more young people are becoming skeptic and critic towards religion. Their presence is getting stronger on the internet. Also, the excesses of the Romanian Orthodox Church come under heavy criticism from a large part of the media.

Given this context, a well attended international humanist event will attract the attention of the media and will initiate debates and controversies that are needed in the Romanian society. This will lead to the development of the Romanian society and it will contribute to a better understanding of the secular humanist values.

The location of the Conference “Education, Science and Human Rights” will be the famous House of the People (now the Parliament Palace) that was built by the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. This building is the second largest government building in the world, after the Pentagon. The Romanian Humanist Association will be the host of the event and other humanist NGO’s will be partners.

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