Three Significant Developments for the Right to Freedom of Expression

December 04, 2012

From CFI's blog, Free Thinking:

On Nov. 20, there was what many are calling a "legal breakthrough" in Pakistan: a court dismissed a blasphemy charge against a young Christian girl named Rimsha Masih (who is featured on the Campaign for Free Expression website). ...

Then, just eight days after Masih was set free, more good news broke: lawmakers in the Netherlands agreed to scrap the country's blasphemy law, which they called outdated. This was a victory all by itself, but it could also mark an important first step forward for European states which, in the face of Islamic criticism, have previously been less than fully supportive of the right to freedom of expression. Indeed, Ireland will soon hold a constitutional convention on major political reform, and the country could feel compelled to consider repealing its blasphemy law.

And last, but not least, the Human Rights First reported last week that the United Nations Third Committee adopted by consensus a measure addressing religious intolerance that does not include mention of the harmful "defamation of religions" concept. This makes it probable that, for the second year in a row, the UN General Assembly will approve a religious intolerance resolution that does not allow states room to restrict the right to freedom of expression. And it strikes another blow to those who seek to claim that freedom of expression is a uniquely Western value.

Read the full article here