Friday, September 26, 2008

Someone Speaking Sense at the UN

At the UN Human Rights Council 9th Session, which is considering a proposal to ban "defamation of religion," Austin Dacey, a representative for the Center for Inquiry, said this to the Human Rights Council:
Existing instruments such as ICCPR Article 20 already protect believers against expression that constitutes incitement. To go further would be to protect the contents of belief itself. Such protection has no basis in international human rights law. Rights belong to individuals, not ideas.

U.N. resolutions combating the defamation of religions are dangerous, as noted by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ms Asma Jahangir, since they can be used to legitimize blasphemy laws that "punish members of religious minorities, dissenting believers and non-theists or atheists.”

In Afghanistan, a 23-year-old student named Sayed Pervez Kambaksh sits in prison, convicted of blasphemy for circulating an article critical of women's status under Islam. For this he has been sentenced to death. Religion does not need protection from Pervez Kambaksh. He needs protection from those who act in its name.
Amen! The article said, "The tide really does seem to be turning in the debate on combating defamation of religion – even to the point where there are hopes among some delegates that the concept will soon be buried, at least in the Human Rights Council."

If this concept is buried in the UN, it would be a small victory, but an important one. It is vitally important that non-Muslims discover basic principles of Islam so they can successfully protect themselves from its relentless encroachment. To silence those voices with a "defamation of religion" act would be a major victory for Islam.


Anonymous said...

Thanks heavens for Austin Dacey and common sense.

The true and ultimate victory will come when the UN completely discards the Cairo Declaration. There can be only ONE STANDARD and that is The UNIVERSAL declaration of human rights.


Citizen Warrior said...

Absolutely, HRW!

Unknown said...

Citizen Warrior: just in case you can also read this:
Defamation of Religion Document Rejected by UN.
Yes, I know it's not really a huge victory but, with all the bad news coming from the UN in this respect, this can pass as "good news". We will see how much it can be sustained.

Citizen Warrior said...

Thanks, Claudia. We get plenty of potentially demoralizing bad news in this field, and it is encouraging and motivating to celebrate every bit of good news.