During a recent meeting at the UN, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay seemed to downplay the responsibility of governments in instigating violent protests, while Pakistan tried to dilute the meaning of antisemitism.
On Thursday, February 21, 2013, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized a conference on the Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence. This is a series of seminars held around the world against the concept of “defamation of religion,” an Islamic-inspired notion that aims to limit free speech.
In her opening statement, the High Commissioner said that “In recent years, incidents involving hate speech, negative stereotyping in the media and even advocacy of religious or national hatred by public officials and political parties have resulted in killings of innocent people, attacks on places of worship and calls for reprisals.” We agree with her that racism, discrimination, hate speech and incitement to violence should be constantly and unequivocally condemned and combated. However, her statement failed to hold governments responsible for provoking social unrest. According to the New York Times, 19 people died and 160 were injured in Pakistan following “government-sanctioned protests” over an obscure YouTube video.