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6th World Atheist Conference Declaration

At this time of momentous challenges and difficulties for our planet, this gathering of Atheists, Humanists and Rationalists from around India and the world understands that concerted efforts from all people of good will are needed to bring about real change. The problems of climate warming, population pressure, growing inequalities and the resurgence of religions and ethnic hatred respect no boundaries: all of us are affected.

Planetary problems require planetary solutions and these solutions must be based on our shared values common to all humanity:

  • We affirm the worth, dignity and autonomy of every individual, and the right of everyone to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. We support democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and aim at the fullest possible development of every human being.
  • We recognize our duty of care to all of humanity including future generations and our dependence on and responsibility for the natural world.
  • We affirm the equality of men and women. All persons regardless of race, origin, caste, religion or belief, language, gender, sexual orientation or ability must have equal treatment before the law.
  • We affirm the right of everyone to adopt and follow a religion or belief of their choosing. But the beliefs of any group must not be used to limit the rights of others.
  • We uphold secularism, holding that the state must remain neutral in matters of religion and belief, favouring none and discriminating against none.
  • We hold that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. We seek to create a fair society based on reason and compassion, in which every citizen is enabled to play their full part.
  • We uphold both tolerance and freedom of expression.
  • We affirm the right of everyone to open and comprehensive education.
  • We reject intimidation, violence and incitement of violence in the furtherance of disputes, and hold that conflicts must be resolved through peaceful negotiation and by legal means.
  • We uphold freedom of inquiry in every sphere of human life and the application of science in the service of human welfare.

Inspired and reinvigorated by meeting people of like mind from all corners of the Earth, each participant in this conference resolves to renew their efforts to create a better world.

Vijayawada, India, 7. January 2007