I served as the Secretary of Atheist Alliance International (AAI) for some years, up to February of 2017. When I left the Board of AAI, I committed to the organisation that I would continue working on some of the tasks that I had been responsible for up until that time. One of the tasks I had begun and promised to complete, was working towards earning Participatory Status for AAI at the Council of Europe. It’s quite an onerous process, so even though the work was well advanced when I stepped away from the AAI Board in February 2017, it took another full year before the status was awarded.
A full copy of the formal letter from the Council of Europe confirming this status to the then President of AAI, is available at the bottom of this page. That correspondence includes details describing how AAI could engage with the main themes and working groups where NGOs play a role at the Council of Europe. In fact, one reason why AAI had applied for formal Participatory Status in the first instance, was because AAI was already engaged with the Council of Europe in several areas. For example, a full copy of the Council of Europe document that recommended Participatory Status for AAI is also available at the bottom of this page, and it states as follows:
“Atheist Alliance International has already established relations with the Council of Europe in particular the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, the Advisory Committee for the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Commissioner for Human Rights. It has made written submissions to the Council of Europe with regard to certain judgements of the European Court of Human Rights.”Council of Europe Resolution 2016(3) of Participatory Status for NGOs
Not long after the Council of Europe awarded this Participatory Status, a small cabal of dishonest people unlawfully took personal control of AAI. Not alone did this cabal destroy all democratic legitimacy within AAI, but they were also profoundly incompetent. When it came to international lobbying, they hadn’t the first idea how to engage in effective activism. This has proved to be something of a handicap for an organisation that is supposed to be advocating for the interests of atheism at the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
Illustrated below is how the cabal described their role on the Wikipedia page that they wrote. This page boasted about the AAI status that was won by the predecessor atheist groups, before those groups were illegitimately disenfranchised by the cabal.
Notwithstanding the consistent bragging by the cabal about the AAI Participatory Status at the Council of Europe, I have recently been informed that the Council of Europe Secretary General has decided that this AAI status should be revoked. This decision follows shortly after the Attorney General in the State of California revoked the nonprofit status of AAI.
A full copy of the document describing the decision of the Secretary General at the Council of Europe, is available at the bottom of this page. The reason given for revoking this Participatory Status, is that Atheist Alliance International:
“have submitted a four-yearly report, but … have had no co-operation with the Council of Europe”Council of Europe Secretary General Communication to the Committee of Ministers
That is, since the coveted Participatory Status was awarded to AAI shortly before the dishonest cabal took personal control of the organisation, they have done absolutely and precisely nothing on behalf of atheism in that forum. While this clown car of incompetence has absented the voice of atheism from that international forum, the following religious groups will continue to be represented there:
- Conference of European Rabbis
- European Buddhist Union
- Forum of European Muslim Youth
- Inter-European Commission on Church and School
- International Movement of Catholic Youth
- International Movement of the Apostolate
- Quaker Council for European Affairs
- United Religions Initiative Europe
The losers in this situation will be all those atheists who could have otherwise benefited from effective activism in an international forum, but who will now no longer have their perspective represented.
Since Brian Kernick was appointed as the so-called “President of Atheist Alliance International” around three months ago, he has not said or written a single word on any topic whatsoever. This is despite many requests for comment on urgent issues from high profile elected representatives. Whereas the calculated strategy of the current self-styled “AAI Board” seems to be that they should say and do absolutely nothing at all, the Secretary General at the Council of Europe now appears unimpressed by that approach.