Friday, March 08, 2013

UN Special Rapporteur Presents Findings On Rights of Religious Minorities

On March 5, Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, presented a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on protecting religious minorities. (UN Press Release.) The Report (dated Dec. 24, 2012) (full text) concludes:
Human rights violations against persons belonging to religious minorities include disproportionate bureaucratic restrictions; denial of appropriate legal status positions needed to build up or uphold a religious infrastructure; systematic discrimination and partial exclusion from important sectors of society; discriminatory rules within family laws; indoctrination of children from minorities in public schools; publicly stoked prejudices and vilification sometimes connected with historic traumas and national mythologies; acts of vandalism and desecration; prohibition or disruption of religious ceremonies; threats and acts of violence; interference in the community’s internal affairs; confiscation of community property; criminal sanctions; denial of asylum, possibly resulting in extraditions and exposure to serious risks of persecution.
The report concludes with 30 recommendations, the most controversial of which is:
States should repeal any criminal law provisions that penalize apostasy, blasphemy and proselytism as they may prevent persons belonging to religious or belief minorities from fully enjoying their freedom of religion or belief.
Charisma News reports on these developments.