Friday, November 6, 2009

UN’s ‘Defamation Of Religions’ Resolution Goes Against Free Speech And Human Rights

The UN is poised to consider passing a resolution called “Combating the Defamation of Religions.” Backed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the resolution was first introduced in 1999 as a resolution to combat the “Defamation of Islam.” In 2008, the language of the resolution was expanded to include other religions, including Christianity and Judaism.

Although not binding in its current form, it urges UN member states to adopt laws prohibiting the “defamation of religion.” Such language is murky, since “defamation” could range from something as heinous of the firebombing of a religious structure to simply satirizing a religious figure or practice. Considering the fact that the effort gained traction in the General Assembly since the now-infamous Mohammed cartoon debacle in Denmark, one might wonder exactly how seriously different nations – and religions – would take the resolution.

Even more disturbing is the idea that there is a movement outside of the General Assembly, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which would incorporate similar measures against the “defamation of religions” into international treaties, which would then grant legal force to the resolution as a part of international law.