UN Human Rights Council Passes “Defamation of Religions” Resolution by Slim Margin

March 25, 2010

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today passed a resolution, backed by Islamic countries, to suppress criticism of religion in the name of defending human rights.  The Council passed a non-binding resolution targeting the so-called "defamation of religions," with 20 votes in favor, 17 against, and 8 abstentions.

As I noted in CFI's official statement against the resolution, the concept of "defamation of religions" is a perversion of human rights law.  International human rights law guarantees freedom of religious exercise, not freedom from insult; it guarantees nondiscrimination for individual believers, not shelter from criticism for belief systems. International law already protects religious believers against expression that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence.  The "defamation of religions" resolution goes much farther by seeking to protect religious belief systems instead of people.  Rather than protecting freedom of conscience and expression, the resolution provides cover to those who would restrict them.

Perhaps this is why criticism of, and opposition to, the concept of "defamation of religions" continues to mount.  Today's vote in favor of a non-binding resolution is the closest margin since the resolution was first introduced in 1999.  An ad hoc committee of the Human Rights Council continues to push for inclusion of a "defamation of religions" measure in binding international treaties.  Fortunately, attempts to fast-track the drafting of a formal treaty were defeated during this session of the Council.


#1 SimonSays on Thursday March 25, 2010 at 5:15pm

Any chance this language would ever end up in something the General Assembly voted on?

#2 jmrunning3 (Guest) on Friday March 26, 2010 at 8:16am

So, once they have “defamation of religions” in place, the OIC will resort to more civil legal challenges when cartoons or critiques they find somehow offensive are published. Right? No more riots? No more attempted murders? No more fatwas? Honor killings will cease?

Sorry but…WTF?

#3 Terry (Guest) on Saturday March 27, 2010 at 6:11am

The way some of these religious have been groping for attention I doubt they much if at all need others to help them defame anyway. Not to stir the pot but does anyone know how many rats are now loose from the Vatican?

#4 Sheldon W. Helms on Saturday March 27, 2010 at 10:52am

This is “uber-Liberalism” at its finest. Ideas like “unconditional love and acceptance” can turn in on themselves if people stop using common sense and reason.  When faced with a choice between defending people’s LIVES or defending people’s superstitions, the U.N. has failed to make the correct choice.  Perhaps that’s because they know for whom the bell tolls; if you don’t defend someone else’s “right” to discriminate, oppress, abuse, or denigrate people based on their religious beliefs, then someone might try to deny you YOUR “right” to do the same…and we can’t have THAT, can we?

U.N. Human Right Council, you fail!

#5 Rafiq Mahmood on Sunday April 11, 2010 at 3:42am

What is a “non-binding resolution”? You surely can’t resolve to do something and not do it at the same time? Like the phrase “defamation of religion” it is completely devoid of meaning. Is anyone sane in this asylum?

#6 Terry (Guest) on Sunday April 11, 2010 at 4:15am

“Defamation of religion” is completely devoid of meaning and as far as I’m concerned its advocates aren’t sane. This non-binding so-called resolution has no teeth and is not be enforceable. This resolution amounts to just more huff and puff waste generated by some who don’t understand what goes on or what might be done to improve their own self-destruct tarnished image.

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