Friday, 18 March 2011

UN considers "Combating incitement to hatred against believers" resolution

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Further to the long-standing efforts of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to introduce a UN resolution condemning "defamation of religion", widely seen by human rights organisations as an attempt to close down criticism of the oppressive, often brutal, blasphemy laws in operation in many Islamic states, we learn from the International Humanist and Ethical Union that a new move is underway to introduce a resolution "Combating incitement to hatred against believers".

IHEU point out that this is step towards a satisfactory alternative to a resolution condemning defamation of religion, in that it separates criticism of religion from inciting hatred, which the Islamic states had previously packaged together as though the former necessarily leads to the latter. As they noted in a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council, "All States are surely opposed to incitement to hatred or violence by anyone, against anyone, and for any reason".

However, the proposed resolution only covers believers, and makes no mention of non-believers. As IHEU's Roy Brown points out in the email we received, this is insufficient, as in many places "Non-believers are the subject of legal sanctions including the death penalty for their non-belief. They are at equally great if not even greater risk than believers in far too many parts of the world."

IHEU are now calling on governments to either ensure that scope is widened to include non-believers, or reject the resolution.
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