A United Nations forum on Thursday passed a resolution condemning “defamation of religion” as a human rights violation, despite wide concerns that it could be used to justify curbs on free speech in Muslim countries.
The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted the non-binding text, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states, with a vote of 23 states in favor and 11 against, with 13 abstentions.
Western governments and a broad alliance of activist groups have voiced dismay about the religious defamation text, which adds to recent efforts to broaden the concept of human rights to protect communities of believers rather than individuals.
Pakistan, speaking for the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said a “delicate balance” had to be struck between freedom of expression and respect for religions.
The resolution said Muslim minorities had faced intolerance, discrimination and acts of violence since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, including laws and administrative procedures that stigmatize religious followers.
“Defamation of religious is a serious affront to human dignity leading to a restriction on the freedom of their adherents and incitement to religious violence,” the adopted text read, adding that “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.”
It called on states to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols are protected, to reinforce laws “to deny impunity” for those exhibiting intolerance of ethnic and religious minorities, and “to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs.”
ISLAMOPHOBIA, CHRISTIANOPHOBIA, ANTI-SEMITISM
Long article but worth the read. I find it disturbing in the extreme that instead of exporting democracy we have found ourselves importing intolerance.