Tuesday, September 23, 2008

UN victory for freedom of expression

UN victory for freedom of expression
Source: http://www.humanrights-geneva.info/UN-victory-for-freedom-of,3518 20 September 08 - The Human Rights Council has ruled that it s not necessary to establish a norm for defamation of religion.
Stéphane Bussard/Le Temps – It’s a small victory for the defenders of free expression. The concept of defamation of religion promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and some African countries did not find favor in the Human Rights Council. It was this theme that concerned all member states this Spring and remains an issue that threatens the follow-up conference on racism (Durban II) which will be held in Geneva next April. If the Council cedes this point, warn certain Western nations ‘it is the end of the Council’s credibility’. On Thursday, Githu Muigai, the Special Rapporteur for contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, found it was not necessary to promote the sociological concept of defamation of religion but rather to adhere to juridical norms when it comes to inciting racial or religious hatred.
In his report presented yesterday, Githu Muigai repeated the conclusions of his predecessor, Doudou Diène, France’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. Speaking for the European Union, Jean-Baptiste Mattéi also applauded the reversal. ‘It is fundamental to make a distinction between criticizing religions and inciting religious hatred. Only the latter … should be banned.’ For France’s Ambassador, freedom of expression is an essential element for democracies.
Translation from French by Pamela Taylor

No comments: