World Union of Freethinkers
A) COMPOSITION OF THE WORLD UNION
The World Union of Freethinkers includes groups, organizations and national associations of freethinkers and also individual freethinkers, who support the fundamental principles of freethinking, endeavour to live according to these principles, to spread them, recommend them further and under all circumstances defend them.
B) PRINCIPLES, DEMANDS, OBJECTIVES
Freethinking is based on the principles of objective recognition, of the liberating use of reason, of peaceful, constructive science, of philosophy, of one’s independent use of common sense and of the search for truth.
Freethinkers declare their support for laicism, democracy, social progress and progressive social emancipation.
Freethinkers stand up for peace and disarmament and fight against war, militarism, colonialism and war propaganda. They defend the sovereign equality of all countries, call for the end of underdevelopment and suppression; they call for the establishment of partnership relations with equal rights; freethinkers promote international understanding and international solidarity and defend international law.
Freethinkers demand for every person – irrespective of gender, ethnic origin and class, irrespective of religious or philosophical beliefs, irrespective of any affiliation to a political party – the right to a life without discrimination, the right to justice, social security and work as well as the right to free education and health care for all.
Freethinkers stand up for the right to full freedom of thought and conscience, for the freedom of information, of the media and of art, without any censorship and subordination by state and religios authorities or economic powers. Freethinkers stand up for the right to pursue one’s chosen life-style and the right to have one’s freely chosen philosophy of life, to express this, to expound, practise and defend this as long as this does not prove to be harmful to or detrimental to the freedom of the individual or humanity.
Freethinkers stand up for the comprehensive fulfilment of social and civil human rights, and insist on their universality, indivisibility and equal validity for all people.
Freethinking does not recognize any dogmas of religious, political, social or national nature; freethinkers defend common sense against secular and religious irrationalism. Freethinking is against the superiority or supremacy of any group of people, of a political or social system, of a belief or of an individual over others. It rejects and fights against any pressure exerted on individuals, groups, communities and nations with regard to all areas of thinking; it demands for everybody the right to choose one’s form of life-style oneself and within the framework of respect for the life and dignity of the individual.
As a consequence, freethinkers fight for liberty and democracy, for the intellectual and social, cultural and moral development of humanity, for the well-being and peace of individuals and societies as well as for the full emancipation of individuals.
Freethinkers are neither dependent on a political party nor on a state institution, but reaffirm that they are indeed totally independent of them.
C) THE AIM OF THE WORLD UNION OF FREETHINKERS
The aim of the World Union of Freethinkers is to appeal to all freethinkers and their organizations to join together to fight for their ideals, to spread their body of thought, to defend their interests and rights and to fulfil their demands; to unite them in an international organization, which sees its purpose in supporting its members, helping them, listening to them and advising them, and in creating strong bonds of effective friendship, solidarity and fraternity between the freethinkers, their organizations and their friends and supporters.
The World Union of Freethinkers extends its activities to all areas of the world, irrespective of national, continental, social or political frontiers.
The seat of the World Union of Freethinkers is determined by the International Council, and in cases of emergency by the Executive Board. At present the seat is in Paris.
All organizations and individuals can become members of the World Union of Freethinkers provided they recognize these statutes and stand up for its principles, demands and objectives. All applications for membership are to be made to the Executive Board, which then passes them on to the International Council.
The World Union can establish regional groups. Each group regulates its statutes in accordance with the statutes of the World Union.
National associations can join the World Union as “corresponding members” in particular if they are unable to meet the costs of travelling long distances to meetings.
The International Council is made up of the delegates sent by the national associations and of individual members. As a rule, the International Council meets at least once a year. Its mandate lasts from one Congress to the next. Delegates have votes according to the number of fee-paying members having paid in the previous calendar year: one vote per member paid. Decisions are made with a majority of votes cast; the same applies for elections. On request, elections can be held as a secret ballot. A two-thirds majority is necessary for a change in the statutes.
The International Council is responsible for leading and guiding the work of the World Union. It is the highest organ of the World Union. All of its decisions are binding for all member organizations, subject to the undiminished autonomy of the national associations with regard to their work and programmatic positions in their own countries.
The International Council elects an Executive Board, which is to comprise of at least seven members, who do not belong to the International Council. The national associations in far-off countries or those which are otherwise prevented from partcipating at a meeting have the right to stipulate a representative, who may be a member of the Executive Board or a representative of another national association.
The International Council summons, as a rule every four years, an International Congress and announces its theme; it proposes an agenda and the standing orders. After consultation with the affiliated national associations, it stipulates who is to give reports and lectures.
The International Council is authorized to organize freethinker meetings of all kinds.
The International Council determines the level of the annual membership fee.
The annual fee is currently €1.00 per member.
Organizations which are unable to pay the regular membership fee can request a reduction by applying to the Executive Board. The International Council elects a commission to audit accounts.
The expenses of the representatives delegated to the International Council are covered by their national associations.
The World Union is administered by the Executive Board, elected by the International Council. The Executive Board is responsible for executing the decisions made by the International Council. It determines the place and date of the International Congress after consultation with the affiliated national associations.
The Executive Board consists as a rule of seven members: the President, one or two Vice-Presidents, the General Secretary, the Information Secretary, the Treasurer and one or more further members.
Should a vacancy occur on the Executive Board between two meetings of the International Council, the International Council is then authorized to choose a replacement; an election by means of correspondence is permissible.
The expenses of the members of the Executive Board are covered by the World Union.
The Executive Board and the International Council represent the World Union of Freethinkers. Their mandate expires at the end of the International Congress, i.e. after the new Executive Board and the new International Council have taken up their work.
The International Congress deals with all reports on matters of general interest that are put on the agenda and opens them for discussion. The Congress can adopt resolutions and recommendations to be forwarded to the International Council.
Provided that half of the national associations demand so, or if the International Council deems this necessary, the International Council or an extraordinary congress will be summoned to convene at the next possible opportunity.
All matters unforeseen in the above regulations are to be regulated by the International Council.
The International Council alone is responsible for amending the statutes and regulations.
Last amended in Vienna, 30th April 2011