Friday, March 27, 2009

UN Human Rights Council Again Adopts Defamation of Religion Resolution

Yesterday the United Nations Human Rights Council again adopted a non-binding "defamation of religions" resolution by a vote of 23 yes, 11 no and 13 abstentions. (AP report). The resolution was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and was co-sponsored by Belarus and Venezuela. The lengthy document (full text):
Urges all States to provide, within their respective legal and constitutional systems, adequate protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general, and to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs;
A version of the resolution has been adopted in a U.N. body each year since 1999. The Becket Fund reports that this year 180 non-governmental organizations from 50 countries had signed a petition (full text) urging rejection of the resolution. Western countries have opposed the underlying premise of the resolution, arguing that it is individuals, not religions, that have rights. The United States is not a member of the Human Rights Council. (See prior related posting.)