Uttam Niraula, a young humanist from Kathmandu, has become the first person from Asia to sit in the executive committee of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), a representative body of the humanist movement globally.
Founded in Amsterdam in 1952, the IHEU envisions a Humanist world in which ‘human rights are respected and everyone is able to live a life of dignity’. The organisation, which has hundreds of thousands of members worldwide, is present in 43 nations and represents over 90 different organisations.
A General Assembly of the IHEU held in Malta on May 22 elected Mr Niraula as one of two executive committee members. Out of five contestants for the two member positions, Mr Niraula and Kato Musaka from Uganda were elected while president Andrew Copson was re-elected unopposed for a second term. Apart from president and two members, IHEU’s executive committee has a treasurer and a vice president. They are elected for a three year term.
Mr Niraula is not only the first person from Nepal but also from the entire Asian region to win a position in the five-member executive committee, he told southasia.com.au on Wednesday.
The 32 year old has been contributing to the world humanist movement for ten years now. Prior to this, the young father was the Vice President and communications officer of the youth wing of IHEU, International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation (IHEYO).
“It is widely believed that humanist ideology began in Asia but currently we are lagging behind in terms of humanist campaigns. So, it will be my focus to reinvigorate the humanist movement in South Asia and also in my own country, Nepal,” Mr Niraula said in a conversation with southasia.com.au.
IHEU is headquartered in London and registered as an international non-governmental organisation (NGO).
The organisation has representation on various United Nations committees and other international bodies.