UN Condemns Religion Defamation

Despite an EU opposition, the United Nations top human rights body adopted a resolution late on Friday, March 30, condemning "defamation" of religion and stressing that press freedom had its limits.

UN Condemns Religion Defamation
Despite an EU opposition, the United Nations top human rights body adopted a resolution late on Friday, March 30, condemning "defamation" of religion and stressing that press freedom had its limits, in a reference to the publication of offensive cartoons lampooning Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) by a Danish daily and European newspapers.

"The resolution is tabled in the expectation that it will compel the international community to acknowledge and address the disturbing phenomena of the defamation of religions, especially Islam," said Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Reuters reported.

With the support of China, Russia and Cuba, Muslim and Arab states comfortably won a vote on the Human Rights Council to express concern at "negative stereotyping" of religions and "attempts to identify Islam with terrorism."

The resolution was adopted by a 24-14 vote with nine abstentions.

Canada, Japan and South Korea joined European countries in opposition, primarily citing its excessive focus on Islam and incompatibility with fundamental rights such as the freedoms of speech and thought.

"The European Union does not see the concept of defamation of religion as a valid one in a human rights discourse," a spokeswoman for the delegation of Germany, which holds the EU presidency, told the Council.

There are 17 Muslim countries in the 47-nation human rights council. Their alliance with China, Cuba, Russia and most of the African members means they can almost always achieve a majority.

However, the council, which last year replaced the UN Human Rights Commission, has no power beyond drawing international attention to rights issues and scrutiny of abuses in certain countries.

Limits

The resolution urged countries to ensure their laws gave adequate protection against acts of "hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions."

While everybody had the right to freedom of expression, this should be exercised according to limitations of the law and respect for others, including respect for religions and beliefs, it said.

In 2006, violent protests rocked cities from Morocco to Malaysia over Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad published in September 2005, which Muslims regarded as sacrilegious and an attack on their beliefs.

The publication of the offensive cartoons triggered an international call from scholars, priests and rabbis alike on the UN Security Council to criminalize blasphemy.

The clergymen of the three divine religions have called for the respect of religious sanctities and symbols, affirming that respect for sanctities does not clash with the right to free expression.

On Friday, March 30, a milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ, which was to be displayed in the United States, and an image portraying Mickey Mouse as Jesus Christ in Moscow provoked a Catholic and Orthodox outcry against the blasphemous works.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
YORUM EKLE