Sunday, October 25, 2009

Islamic Group Still Pressing For International Ban On Insulting Religions

Despite the United Nations Human Rights Council's recent adoption of a compromise resolution on freedom of opinion and expression (see prior posting), the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African Group are pressing for much more robust protections against publications that insult or negatively stereotype religion and religious ideas. According to Nigeria's Vanguard on Friday, these groups have asked the Human Rights Council's Ad Hoc Committee for the Elaboration of Complementary Standards to develop:
"new binding normative standards relating to religious ideas, objects and positions while incorporating contemporary issues" such as "defamation of religions, religious personalities, holy books, scriptures and symbols"; "provocative portrayals of objects of religious veneration as a malicious violation of the spirit of tolerance"; "prohibition of the publication of gratuitously offensive attacks on matters regarded as sacred by the followers of any religion and ; "abuse of the right to freedom of expression in the context of racio-religious profiling".
A group of NGO's has written to the U.N. committee objecting to these proposals, saying that they threaten freedom of expression and the protection of equality.