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Greetings from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and the Norwegian Humanist Association (NHA)

Hope Knútsson, formaður Siðmenntar,  flutti kveðju frá Alþjóðlegum samtökum húmanista (IHEU) og norsku húmanistasamtökunum (NHA) á hátíð Siðmenntar á Grand Hótel 10. maí. Þá hittust félagar og velunnarar Siðmenntar til að fagna því að félagið er nú orðið skráð lífsskoðunarfélag.

Greetings to Sidmennt

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is working to establish and support Humanist groups in all countries of the world, and to work for the rights of the non-religious in society. We are glad to report that there is growing support for secular life stance groups in many parts of the world.

The United Nations has confirmed that the right to “Freedom of Religion and Belief” also covers the right to have secular philosophies and life stances, as well as no specific belief at all. It has been difficult to get countries to change their laws to reflect this, specially the countries with an established state church system. Recognizing secular life stance groups is one step in that direction, and giving financial support on a level similar to that of the church – per member – is another such step.

IHEU is therefore delighted that Iceland now has passed a law to recognize and support secular life stance groups, and that Sidmennt has been recognized as the first such group. This is a major breakthrough for Sidmennt, but also a small, but important, development globally. The recognition of non-religious ethical communities by law in Iceland sends a strong signal to other countries.

Sidmennt has for many years had a good relationship with the Norwegian Humanist Association, and has sought and received advice and support from the successful Humanist organization in Norway.

The Norwegian Humanist Association is happy to see that Sidmennt has developed a full range of Humanist ceremonies and other services for their members. The new legal status will also improve the financial situation of Sidmennt, and over time strengthen its possibilities to further develop services, to become more robust in its operations and to increase its information to the rest of the population of Iceland.

Both the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the Norwegian Humanist Association send their warm greetings to Iceland today. Congratulations!

By Roar Johnsen, Treasurer of the IHEU and past president of NHA.

Reykjavik, 10 May 2013.

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