Humanists support SHout campaign, encourage NO vote to spring hunting

Turtle Doves

As Humanists we are deeply concerned about the environment in which we live. We are not a species in isolation, and our happiness and wellbeing is inextricably linked with other species in an intricate web of interrelations and an ecosystem that encompasses the planet.

We must always be aware of the ways in which we have a negative impact on our environment, and if necessary be prepared to make sacrifices to mitigate the harm. From buying energy-saving devices to reduce pollution from fossil fuels, to recycling the waste we generate, every little bit helps.
On the 11th of April, the people of Malta are being called upon to make one such decision - to determine whether hunting of birds can continue during spring.

The spring migration season marks the penultimate stage in a bird’s annual cycle. It is heading from Africa back to Europe to nest. Not all birds survive winter of course - some will fall victim to predators, or die of other causes. The ones that survive would have flown thousands of kilometers, and are on the final leg of their journey before they reach their breeding grounds in Europe. Killing a parent bird before it can produce the next generation goes against all principles of sustainable activities.

Apart from the direct impact of hunting on the authorised species it is an unfortunate fact that a legal hunting season provides cover for those hunters who shoot indiscriminately at all species of birds, as well as the fact that the Maltese public is kept out of the countryside by hunting activities.

Hunting is not a right but a pastime, and like any pastime it can be subject to restrictions. Just as Malta has banned spear fishing while scuba diving, it can stop hunting during spring, and this is not a breach of anybody’s rights. On the contrary it is a rational way to limit our impact and try to stem the steady and alarming decline of bird populations in the wild. We urge everyone, including hunters, to vote with an eye to the future of bird populations and vote "No" to spring hunting on the 11th April.

MHA Concerned about Church Staff Document

The Malta Humanist Association is troubled by recent press reports that Heads of Catholic schools are being asked by the Maltese archdiocese to discuss new terms of employment, which terms would guarantee that schools’ head teachers and other staff can be safely considered as “practising Catholics” – or face disciplinary action if their “life choices give scandal or run counter to the ethos of the school”. The document, ‘Practising Catholic As A Requirement For Eligibility And Selection Of Staff In Church Schools’, would impose upon church school staff restrictions to their life choices that are inconsistent with employment law and human rights. The Employment and Industrial Relations Act makes it clear that “discriminatory treatment means any distinction, exclusion, or restriction which is not justifiable in a democratic society including discrimination made on the basis of marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy, sex, colour, disability, religious conviction, political opinion or membership in a trade union or in an employers’ association.”

Considering what the church teaches on topics such as homosexuality, homosexual relationships, unwed parents, IVF and many others, this new policy is likely to affect such minorities - as well as requiring all such staff to be baptised Catholics. Even the requirement that staff reveal such details as their sexual orientation or marital status is a violation of that person's privacy and dignity. Employers are in fact legally prohibited from requesting such information during interviews.

The document further implies that a concordat with the state grants the church autonomy in running its schools. However, this cannot be taken as carte blanche to ignore or break any laws. As an employer, the church is bound by employment laws and must adhere to them as it must adhere to all other laws.

While the church currently has a constitutional exemption to permit it to discriminate in the case of religion teachers, this proposal would extend this discrimination to cover heads of schools, assistant heads, PSD teachers, counsellors and other staff positions.

Almost simultaneously with this report, MHA was informed that the Faculty of Theology is proposing a course in Catholic School Leadership to be pushed to all prospective heads of schools, with candidates who have attended this course being given preference over others.

The MHA calls upon the relevant ministries to proactively investigate these matters and not wait for the first staff to lose their jobs and have to face the consequences alone. Many teachers and other staff, including MHA members, are not Catholics and are concerned about the possible repercussions to their own careers if these plans are put into practice.

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The Oxford Declaration on Freedom of Thought and Expression

World Humanist Congress 2014

The 2014 World Humanist Congress, gathered in Oxford, UK, on 8-10 August 2014, adopted the following declaration on freedom of thought and expression:
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Christian Colombo

Christian ColomboChristian Colombo is a computer science lecturer at the University of Malta by profession. He is a member of the Malta Humanist Association and in his free time enjoys reading and putting his thoughts into prose and poems.

Christian got married two years ago and had to improvise a humanist wedding together with his bride as no celebrants were available at the time. Now he hopes to provide the same experience of a meaningful and personal wedding to others.

Apart from weddings he also conducts funerals and naming ceremonies.


Tel: 79258285

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Josephine Gatt-Ciancio

Josephine Gatt-CiancioThough, as you see from my photo, I am not a spring chicken, I am young at heart and interested in futuristic things. As a matter of fact I write science fiction and futuristic books.
I am a widow, and retired. I’ve worked as a teacher, Administrative Officer, Journalist, Script writer and an on line blogger. I have a B.A. and an MSc.
I am a member of various groups such as SICEC (a society that investigates the paranormal) , The Malta Humanist Association, Philosophy Sharing etc.
I also do research on consciousness from the scientific point of view.
I am interested to serve as celebrant for Funerals, Weddings, Baby Namings , Animals Farewell services, Coming Of Age ceremonies etc.
If you feel like discussing your plans for your ceremony, don’t hesitate to contact me. I try to help as best I can.

Telephone (00356) 21665995
Mobile (00356) 99863149

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Reuben Zammit

Reuben ZammitReuben is an English lecturer at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. He is a fervent reader and is passionate about literature, having completed his Masters in English and Comparative Literature at Warwick University in 2010. His other interests include  film, writing and volunteering.

Reuben has been socially active since his return from the U.K. in 2010, working with several social organisations, one of which is the Malta Humanist Association. He believes in the importance of community and hopes the MHA, on which committee he currently serves as Events Organiser, and its Celebrant programme will be successful in its mission to foster a sense of belonging and identity for humanists and non-believers.

Reuben conducts all sorts of secular ceremonies celebrating life and the individual, including Funerals, Weddings, Baby Namings, Social Initiations and Coming of Age. He draws from his knowledge of English, Maltese and World literature to make every occasion as high-quality, memorable and personalised an experience as possible.

Phone - 27133779
Mobile - 79091379

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Gail Debono

Gail Debono
Gail is a forensic psychology graduate working towards attaining her warrant as a forensic psychologist; she is a businesswoman and partner at Prefect & Co, as well as forming part of the Malta Humanist Association committee. She is a lover of books, languages, and cultures and hopes to pass this on to her daughter who is the focus of her life. In her spare time, when not at a Foo Fighters concert, Gail may be spotted at the sea or under it, on a scuba dive or two, or watching a good game of rugby. She has lived in over 5 countries apart from her beloved Malta where she plans to stay.

Gail was inspired to become a Humanist Celebrant by the fact that she couldn’t have a Humanist Baby Naming Ceremony for her daughter because there were no trained celebrants in Malta at the time. Through becoming a celebrant she hopes to give the opportunity to everybody who wants to commemorate an occasion without religion.

Gail conducts weddings, funerals, baby naming ceremonies, inaugurations and other humanist ceremonies in both Maltese and English.

Mobile: +356 9988 1266
Skype: gail_debs

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Ramon Casha

Ramon CashaRamon Casha works as an IT professional with Megabyte Ltd. He has been active in the Malta Humanist Association since its inception and currently serves as its chairman. He loves nature, science, music and the Maltese language, and is an avid nature photographer, amateur astronomer and occasional writer. He has performed on stage as both singer and dancer, in musicals, operettas and dance shows.

Ramon has always been keen on expanding the secular options available for people in Malta who lead a non-religious life, and one of those areas was in important life events.

Ramon conducts weddings, baby namings and funerals, as well as other secular ceremonies.


Tel: (00356) 99477331
Skype: RamonCasha

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