UN rapporteur expresses concern that atheists can be put to death in 13 countries

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A Special Rapporteur for the United Nations (UN) has used his last report to highlight the fact that being atheist is punishable by death in thirteen countries

Maina Kias, the Rapporteur on the rights to peaceful assembly and association, highlighted that it is illegal to be atheist in 19 states.

He said: “Atheism is effectively illegal in 19 States and punishable by death in 13 of those.”

In a presentation of his report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Kiai said the world is experiencing “a struggle between tolerance and intolerance”.

He said the issue was undermining countries’ democratic stability.

This, he said, was a reason some were pushed to violence in order to be heard, speaking of fundamentalism.

“The people of the world speak some 7,000 languages, practice 270 major religions, live in 193 UN Member States and belong to thousands of cultures. But we share only one planet,” the Special Rapporteur said.

“We will not always agree. But tolerance towards our differences is the only way to make sure that they do not boil over into violence, oppression and conflict.”

A recent study suggests that at least nine countries will see major religions go extinct in coming years.

The study, which used the data from Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland, suggested that religion could become extinct there.

Disney was accused of being “anti-faith” this year for lending its support to the LGBT+ community.