Archive for the '“Defamation of Religion”' Category

The return of the Ad Hoc

On July 22, 2013, a two-week session of the controversial Ad Hoc Committee on the Collaboration of Complementary Standards commenced. The Committee, set up in accordance with Paragraph 199 of the Durban Declaration, has as its goal to identify protection gaps in the fight against racism, especially within the International Covenant for the Elimination of Racial Descrimination (ICERD). From its first session in 2008, the Committee acquired notoriety as it became the forum through which the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was seeking to draft an international protocol against defamation, thus limiting free speech and promoting blasphemy laws.

So far, this year’s session has been pretty uneventful. The committee meetings were extremely stilted, as many delegations had nothing to say, or felt no need to further elaborate. Many afternoon or morning sessions were postponed and adjourned, due to lack of content, or officially, to give countries time to familiarize themselves with material that was not distributed until last minute, such as biographical information on upcoming speakers.

The European Union and the United States continued to be vocal critics of the committee’s work, like in the past. They both complained against attempts to bring defamation back to the agenda. The EU noted with regret that the committee’s questionnaire was not carried out in a transparent manner, that important information was only provided at late stages, and that many countries did not respond, resulting in an underrepresentation of some regions. The United States said that they saw no need for additional substantive legal instruments, because the mandate of the committee is to promote a consensus of action plans and not create new confusing international law instruments. At times, the USA also had to ask a speaker how their topic had anything to do with the question of xenophobia.

Why not make this year’s session the Committee’s last one?

“No such thing as Islamic terrorism,” delegate tells UN confab on religious sensitivities

The OIC hosted the 3rd Istanbul Process session, the product of a Western attempt to replace the Islamic group's "defamation of religion" UN campaign.

For more photos of the conference, click here.

GENEVA – Nations attacked the West for wrongly associating Islam with terrorism at a June 19-21 international conference in Geneva organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, part of the U.S.-Turkish led “Istanbul Process,” an intended Western-Islamic framework for détente created by a 2011 UN Human Rights Council resolution to “combat intolerance, discrimination and incitement to hatred and/or violence on the basis of religion or belief.”

The 3rd International Expert Meeting on the Follow-Up and Implementation of HRC Resolution 16/18 was held at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. The previous meeting of the Istanbul Proces was hosted by then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C., in December 2011.

Critics say the resolution and its follow-up process have seen the U.S. legitimize the longstanding Islamic campaign at the UN to ban “defamation of religion,” only with different terminology.

A central theme of the conference was how to balance freedom of speech with freedom of religion. Many countries argued for protecting “religious sensitivities.” Indonesia stated that freedom of speech is not absolute, and that it must come with restrictions based on legitimate grounds.

Egypt said that freedom of opinion is a manifestation of social freedoms – and is therefore the mother of all rights – but that the freedom of religion must also be considered in light of basic human rights, given the fact that Articles 19 and 20 of the ICCPR impose duties and responsibilities.
Mr. Taskin Soykan, an adviser on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims at the OSCE, said that freedom of religion is “sacrosanct but not absolute,” and that individuals have responsibilities in exercising the right. Continue reading ‘“No such thing as Islamic terrorism,” delegate tells UN confab on religious sensitivities’

UN hosts seminar against defamation – but downplays state-orchestrated violence

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.

Continue reading ‘UN hosts seminar against defamation – but downplays state-orchestrated violence’

Defamation come-back at the UN?

The recent violence in the Middle East and beyond on the movie on Prophet Mohammed has rekindled the defamation debate at the United Nations.

Last week, South Africa, on behalf of the African group, put forward a resolution which sent shockwaves to many capitals around the world. The text proposed to bring back a lot of the inflammatory and divisive language that surrounded the defamation resolutions. The impression was that the defamation resolutions were history following the adoption of resolution 16/18, which was hailed as a “landmark achievement.”

However, divisive language was included in this year’s annual African text on racism. The proposed resolution included references such as “deplores the use of print, audiovisual and electronic media, including the Internet, and any other means to incite acts of national, racial or religious violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination against any religion, as well as the targeting of religious symbols and venerated persons.” Such language is unacceptable in a human rights framework, as religions, symbols or venerated persons are not the bearers of rights; instead the individual is the bearer of human rights.

After three public negotiation sessions and numerous other behind-closed-door consultations most of the inflammatory language has been removed [see new language in red, old language crossed out]. However, many concerns remain with this resolution. For example, it perpetuates the Durban Declaration, a failed and polarized vehicle to fight racism. Second, it continues to create a hierarchy among victims of racism. Lastly, it bundles all cases of racism in Africa as one, branding them “afrophobia,” when the reality is far more complicated.

The resolution will be formally adopted tomorrow when we shall see then the final text and the result of the vote, if one is called. In addition, there are fears that a resolution on defamation will be adopted by the UN General Assembly, whose annual session started this week and last for a few months. The United Nations and the international community have failed so far to address the important issue of racism in an impartial and constructive way and urgently need to find a new approach to the whole issue.

Letter from UN’s Islamic group to UNHRC President Opposing Panel on Violence Against Gays

PDF of original letter

PERMANENT MISSION OF PAKISTAN
TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND
OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

56 me de Moillebeau
1211 Geneva 19
Tel: (4122) 7491930
Fax: (4122) 734 8085
E-mail: mission.vakistan@ties.ita.int.

Ambassador
No. Pol/S0/2012

14 February 2012

H.E. Ms. Laura Dupuy Lasserre
President of the Human Rights Council
Geneva

My dear President,

I am writing to you in my capacity as Coordinator of the OIC Group on Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues in Geneva.

2.         I wish to explain the position taken by the Member States of the OIC onResolution 17/19 and the subsequent Panel on “Discrimination and Violence based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” scheduled to be held on 7 March 2012 during the 19′th Session of the Human rights Council.

3.         The OIC States are deeply concerned by the introduction in the Human Rights Council of controversial notions like “sexual orientation and gender identity.” The OIC countries have been consistent in their opposition to the consideration of these controversial notions in the context of human right at international fora. Continue reading ‘Letter from UN’s Islamic group to UNHRC President Opposing Panel on Violence Against Gays’

Islamic States Pledge Tolerance as Report Says They Practice Persecution

Concerns about an Islamic-sponsored “combating intolerance” initiative at the United Nations are brought into sharp relief by results of a new world survey on religious persecution.

Muslim nations make up nine out of the top ten countries where Christians face the “most severe” persecution, and 38 of the top 50, reports U.S.-based Open Doors in its 2012 World Watch List.

Topping the list is North Korea, where the Stalinist regime enforces cult worship of its leaders.

The results lay bare the sheer incongruity of the idea that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), whose 56 member states control more than a quarter of the votes in the UN General Assembly, can be serious about promoting religious tolerance.

Yet that is what it claimed by successfully pushing for an assembly resolution titled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief.” The measure, which passed last month, mirrored an almost identical resolution in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva last March. Continue reading ‘Islamic States Pledge Tolerance as Report Says They Practice Persecution’

Controversial Durban committee meets in Geneva – Day 1

 The Ad-Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complimentary Standards was established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2006, in accordance to the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. In its previous sessions, the Committee dealt with highly contentious and controversial issues, such as defamation of religion and incitement to religious hatred, which often polarized the debate.

Unable to elect a chair in October of last year following the resignation of the Algerian ambassador, the Committee postponed the session to the following year. On Monday, April 11, 2011, the Committee resumed. Scheduled to last two weeks, the first day of the session has already evidenced tension.

The first item of business was the election of a chair. Ambassador Jerry Matjila of South Africa, was appointed chair. In a show of humility, Ambassador Matjila admitted that no country can say it is immune from manifestations of racism, not even his own. He expressed his desire to find common ground between states, that he respected the unique and varied approaches of each country. The Ambassador set ambitious goals, and appealed to each state to draw on the diversity of others in order to move this process forward.

After adopting the provisional agenda, the chair moved to a matter on which there was great divergence: the program of work. Ambassador Majila insisted on asking the Committee to adopt a blank program of work – a schedule that would say when the committee was meeting, but not what they were meeting to discuss. This was opposed strongly by the EU, supported by the US and Switzerland. Iraq also acknowledged that the absence of the topics to be discussed from the program of work is “mysterious” and “ambiguous.”

The EU expressed a number of reservations, most importantly on the substance of the discussion and the methodology to be used. It warned of “an adventure with tsunamis and earthquakes.”

The Chair responded that he would resign if the committee did not trust him. Later, he was persuaded to circulate the list of four topics he chose for discussion, out of a list of 22 possible ones, and went on to explain them in more detail.

The first topic was xenophobia. In an atypical moment of self-reflection, the Ambassador of South Africa condemned the recent xenophobic attacks in his country, where, “foreigners were burnt alive,” calling them “shameful.” He also said that they need to define what “Xenophobia” means, to which countries expressed concern that this endeavor is outside of the Committee’s mandate.

The second topic on incitement could potentially bring back the deleterious notion of “defamation of religion,” which was removed at the last HRC session. The Chair argued that discussing it at this stage was “ripe.”

The third issue, racism on the internet, required technical expertise, Switzerland argued. The EU said that at the Council of Europe, the issue was dealt in the wider framework of cybercrime. Having not ratified the protocol of the council of Europe, the USA said it was in no position to discuss this theme in the ad-hoc committee.

Last but not least, the fourth issue, racial profiling after September 11, also raised eyebrows.

The EU’s first reaction was to ask the Chair how he was possibly able to narrow the list to these four topics and expressed its concern that certain of these themes  were out of its “comfort zone,” and not appropriate in the ad-hoc committee. The USA and Switzerland were trying to identify where the chair was trying to lead them with these subjects. The USA proposed to merge item 2 with item 4.  Switzerland concluded that it was willing to accept topic 1 and 4 but topic 3 isn’t a subject they would be willing to discuss.

During the discussion, Nigeria for the African Group said that “the EU confirmed his fears and suspicions that they are not willing to see the process take off the ground.”

The Chair, leaving the door open for new discussions topics, added “racism and sports” and “the establishment and maintaining of national mechanisms to prevent racism” on his list. A compromise was reached to suspend the meeting till Wednesday, April 13, in order to allow for consultations with capitals. On Wednesday and Thursday the topics will be discussed in an informal setting, facilitated by the Ambassador of Botswana. The resumption of the formal process is set for Friday, April 15.

Selected Resolutions from UNHRC 16th Session

Strengthening of technical cooperation and consultative services in the Republic of Guinea

Situation of Human Rights in Cote d’Ivoire

  • Resolution (does not include oral revisions)
  • Adopted by consensus as orally revised

Cooperation between Tunisia and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

  • Resolution (does not include oral revisions)
  • Adopted by consensus as orally revised

Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Promoting Human Rights through Traditional Values

Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief (Based on the former “Defamation of religions” resolution)

Outcome of HRC Review

  • Resolution
  • Adopted by consensus, USA disassociated itself

Human Rights in Myanmar (Burma)

  • Resolution
  • Adopted by consensus, China and Cuba disassociated themselves

Human Rights in the DRC

Human Rights in the Golan

Follow up to the Flotilla Report

Grave Violations in the OPT and East Jerusalem

Goldstone Follow up

Palestinian Right to Self Determination

Israeli Settlements

“Defamation of Religion” Passes Human Rights Council

The “defamation of religion” resolution (click here for text) narrowly passed the Human Rights Council this afternoon, with 20 members voting in favor of the resolution, 17 opposing and 8 abstentions.

Pakistan introduced the resolution, accusing Western countries of “targeting Muslims” and using “pressure instead of reason” to influence votes. “Enforcing their values as universal values reveals an imperial hubris,” he said. “Torture centers such as Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and Bagram are known to all of us. We hope that this Council will vote according to its conscience and not according to political expediency.”

The United States opposed the resolution, which it said “failed to galvanize international support for real solutions to improve the lives of people on the ground.” It called the resolution “ineffective” and an “instrument of division.”

Strains Emerging on “Defamation of Religion” Ahead of Important Vote

Ahead of two important votes later this week, the Ad Hoc Committee met to discuss the resolution tabled by Nigeria on the “Elaboration of Complementary Standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination” (ICERD). Together with the annual resolution on the “Defamation of Religion,” they signal forceful actions by Islamic nations to change international law at the expense of freedom of expression, as part of the follow-up to the 2001 Durban conference on racism. For more on the Ad Hoc Committee and its earlier proceedings, click hereContinue reading ‘Strains Emerging on “Defamation of Religion” Ahead of Important Vote’

Readers comment on UN Watch’s New York Times letter on Swiss minaret ban

Letter to the Editor, The New York Times, December 19, 2009:

Re “Europe’s Minaret Moment,” by Ross Douthat (column, Dec. 7): We, part of the Geneva human rights community, are particularly embarrassed by Switzerland’s vote to ban minarets and will work energetically toward its speedy repeal.

Paradoxically, the most intolerant Islamists are likely to be strengthened by this act of bigotry, not weakened. Acts of intolerance by Western countries provide justification for banning religious freedom in Muslim countries.

These efforts have found expression at the United Nations Human Rights Council, where an Algerian-headed committee is advocating changes to an international covenant on discrimination to grant Islamic governments free rein to silence dissenters in the name of a supposed human right against “defamation of religion.” But questioning or criticism of Islamic orthodoxies by individuals – religious dissenters, human rights activists or journalists – is protected speech, and an essential part of religious and political freedom.

What a pity that Switzerland’s minaret folly – which, at the least, discourages religious expression by individuals – may end up hurting non-Muslim minorities in the Mideast as well as liberal Muslims. The overt banning of Muslim structures by a government is wrongful discrimination.

Hillel C. Neuer
Executive Director, U.N. Watch
Geneva, Dec. 11, 2009

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/19/opinion/l19minaret.html

Wall Street Journal: UN Watch takes on Islamist U.N. assault on free speech

Yesterday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal Asia (page 18) published the following two letters to the editor, by U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley and by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. Both were in response to a Nov. 5th editorial entitled “Hillary vs. State,” which critiqued the U.S. co-sponsorship with Egypt of a UN resolution concerning freedom of speech. For an excellent in-depth summary of the issue, see The Dangerous Idea of Protecting Religions from “Defamation”  by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. *** Continue reading ‘Wall Street Journal: UN Watch takes on Islamist U.N. assault on free speech’

OIC defends “defamation of religion” proposal in letter to UN

After suffering heavy public criticism, the Organization of the Islamic Conference defended its proposal to ban criticism of Islam in a letter addressed to a UN committee charged with defining the norms of anti-racism. It also resorted to attacking Western countries, mentioning only Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK as human rights violators, ignoring the suppression and oppression of religious minorities in Muslim countries. Continue reading ‘OIC defends “defamation of religion” proposal in letter to UN’

GA approves resolution aimed at combating ‘defamation of religions’

On November 12, the representative of Malaysia, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Belarus, and Venezeula, introduced in the General Assembly’s Third Committee a resolution on combating the “defamation of religions.”  The text was approved by a vote of 81 in favor to 55 against, with 43 abstentions.

The draft introduced by the OIC noted with deep concern “the serious instances of intolerance, discrimination, acts of violence based on religion or belief… particularly [against] Muslim minorities… that threaten to impede their full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”  In that respect, it expressed concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations.

Among the 55 countries voting against the resolution were the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel, all the EU states, and other democracies.  Sweden, on behalf of the EU, said they shared the OIC’s concern that people were “routinely victimized on the grounds of religion or belief,” but they could not agree with the concept of “defamation of religion” as a response to such discrimination, because it would “limit freedom of expression and might endanger the atmosphere of tolerance that would enable people of different religions or beliefs to coexist without fear.” 

The United States representative lamented that the “increasingly splintered view on this text” did not adequately reflect the views of every state.  He went on to say that “freedom of religion was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… [F]reedom could not be universally achieved by imposing governmental laws regarding who could say what, when.  The United Nations must remain faithful to the central tenet of human rights law, which said that human rights were held by individuals not nations or religions.”  The representative finished his statement saying that the U.S. opposed the resolution because it would not agree that prohibiting speech was the way to promote tolerance.

Amongst the 43 countries who abstained, the representatives of Brazil and Jamaica spoke in explanation of their votes.  The representative of Brazil stated that his delegation could not support the text as tabled because it believed the concept of the “defamation of religion” needed to be addressed in such a way that was “not detrimental to other rights.”  Jamaica’s representative said the draft “should have been more balanced and not confined itself to the concerns of one religion.  It had failed to account for the violations of rights of persons of other faiths or religions.”

A coaltion of 100 human rights groups from 20 countries warned that the move would “punish the peaceful expression of disfavored political or religious beliefs and ideas.”

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 8 Morning

Lichtenstein and Nigeria went head to head at this morning’s Durban Ad Hoc Committee meeting. Redrawing sharp lines between Western and African countries, the two delegates debated the implications of new provisions to the current convenant on racial discrimination. The central point of disagreement remains “whether demonstrating there were insufficient instances in the field or that there were no insufficiencies and therefore the present status quo should be maintained,” therefore casting in great doubt the purpose of the committee itself. Countries have yet to reach consensus, and several, hugely divergent proposals still remain on the table. Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 8 Morning’

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 7 Afternoon

Pakistan chastised the United States for racial profiling practices at this afternoon’s Durban Ad Hoc Committee meeting. The committee debated several issues, including the rights of people under foreign occupation, protection of migrants, refugees and IDP’s (internally displaced persons). Zimbabwe also expressed mild disgust at Western states, saying, “the denial or resistance of the Western groups in the area of gaps is not surprising.  They see them as adequate only when it comes to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. [...] Racial and religious profiling is evident.” Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 7 Afternoon’

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 5 and 6

After several rounds of closed regional meetings, the Durban follow-up committee resumed work on Tuesday morning only to adjourn for another five minute recess when a new program of work was circulated. Upon reconvening, the committee did not formally adopt the program, but decided to move on to the more substantive issues of national mechanisms and genocide. Western states argued that countries need to focus on better implementing international laws in their own national mechanisms, while Arab and African countries pressed for new laws to cover gaps in international standards. Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 5 and 6′

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 4 Afternoon

The controversial issue of defamation of religion took centerstage at this afternoon’s Durban Ad Hoc Committee meeting. Still unable to adopt its program of work, the committee has decided to discuss agenda items unofficially, with hopes that it will have more luck in reaching consensus on a per item basis. However, Islamic countries quickly moved the discussion away from discrimination on the basis of religion, to defamation of religion, an item that had been removed from the official program of work. This elicited strong resistance from Western countries, which argued that protection from religious discrimination should not create restrictions on freedom of expression. Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 4 Afternoon’

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 4 Morning

The protection of states’ rights became the central issue of this morning’s Durban follow-up meeting. Arab and African states are pushing to restrict freedom of expression by criminalizing “Islamophobia,” and “defamation of religion” (which has now been stricken from the program of work). Nigeria submitted a proposal to create international laws that make criticism of Islam a punishable offense. As Western and Islamic countries continue to lock horns on this issue, the commitee has been unable to adopt its program of work. Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 4 Morning’

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 3 Afternoon

Western and Islamic countries are at loggerheads over new international laws that criminalize Islamophobia. Today’s afternoon session of the Durban follow-up ended in disagreement, with several states urging the committee to consider the findings of independent experts to break the impasse. Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 3 Afternoon’

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 3 Morning

Heated debate continued at the Durban follow-up meeting on racism and discrimination when Nigeria and Pakistan sought to limit dicussions on homophobia and other forms of racial discrimination. At issue was the request made by Germany yesterday to clarify that opinions raised by certain countries do not reflect the view of the entire committee. This point was raised out of concern that changes in procedure could be used to force out consideration of certain rights, such as freedom of expression and protection against homophobia. Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 3 Morning’

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 2

Islamophobia and homosexuality were among the controversial topics that arose today at the Durban Ad Hoc Committee, which reconvened after a one-day postponement for regional group consultations. The committee adopted the draft agenda and resumed discussions on the program of work. Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 2′

Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 1

Islamic states at the UN are once again attempting to change international law by defining criticism of Islam as a form of racism. As part of a broader Islamic campaign throughout the UN, which includes an annual “Defamation of Religion” resolution that is now making its way through the GA in New York, the so-called “Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards“, part of the UN Human Rights Council’s follow-up to the 2001 Durban conference on racism, opened today in Geneva for a 2-week session. The group was created in December 2006 and held its first session last year.

The premise of the Islamic-initiated group is that international law has a gap in allowing criticism (“defamation”) of Islam, and that new “complementary standards” must be enacted, to prohibit newspaper articles, cartoons or other statements deemed offensive to Muslims. The committee today discussed the relevance of reaching consensus on the program of work. Continue reading ‘Durban Ad Hoc Committee: Day 1′

Journalist Magdi Khalil slams Muslim and Arab blocs for subverting U.N. human rights principles

Coptic Egyptian-American journalist Magdi Khalil, director of the Middle East Freedom Forum, explains in a recent article on the liberal website www.elaph.org how Muslim states are subverting the U.N. human rights system from within, using it to stifle criticism of Muslim countries and of Islam while promoting hostility towards Israel:

The Arab and Islamic States that pushed for a resolution against defaming religion are mostly interested in intimidating and blackmailing the West — while they themselves continue to show no respect for religious diversity… Glancing at [its provisions] it is possible to think that they originated with the Egyptian Ministry of Information or the Pakistani parliament, rather than with a council whose basic mission is to safeguard rights and freedoms — primarily the freedoms of thought and expression.

See this and other excerpts translated from MEMRI here.

New Durban 2 text says “foreign occupation” is racism

Following is a summary of the 3rd substantive session of the Durban Review Preparatory Committee, which met yesterday and today, and which concludes tomorrow. Continue reading ‘New Durban 2 text says “foreign occupation” is racism’

U.N. Human Rights Council concludes main annual session; Summary of key resolutions

The U.N. Human Rights Council concluded its main annual session on Friday, March 28. Before the start of the session, Freedom House published an updated report on Freedom in the World, which listed eight countries and two territories that suffer from the “worst of the worst” human rights violations: North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Sudan, Burma (Myanmar), Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, Tibet, and Chechnya. The human rights records of another eleven countries and territories ranked just slightly above. Amongst the more than two dozen resolutions adopted by the council this session, only those on Myanmar and North Korea condemned “worst of the worst” violators. The situation in Somalia was addressed, but in a weak manner with government actions enjoying more praise than criticism. There was also a weak resolution on the Congo, a country in the midst of a large-scale humanitarian crisis. By contrast, Israel —ranked as “free”— was strongly condemned in five one-sided resolutions.

Continue reading ‘U.N. Human Rights Council concludes main annual session; Summary of key resolutions’

Islamic states protest “Islamophobia,” “defamation of religions” in talks on racism

At the U.N. Human Rights Council today, states undertook a discussion on racism and follow-up to the 2001 Durban anti-racism Declaration. All delegations that spoke condemned contemporary forms of racism and expressed commitment to a successful outcome of the Durban Review Conference, also known as “Durban II.”

Continue reading ‘Islamic states protest “Islamophobia,” “defamation of religions” in talks on racism’

Draft “Complementary Standards” resolution virtually unchanged despite protest

In informal consultations at the U.N. today, South Africa for the African Group presented the revised text of its Human Rights Council resolution on the “Elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).”

Continue reading ‘Draft “Complementary Standards” resolution virtually unchanged despite protest’

The Islamic-sponsored protocol to ban criticism of religion under the international racism convention

Algerian ambassador Idriss Al-Jazairy, as head of the U.N.’s “Ad Hoc Committe on Complementary Standards,” has drafted an additional protocol to amend the International Covenant on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Continue reading ‘The Islamic-sponsored protocol to ban criticism of religion under the international racism convention’

USA and Canada stand up for free-speech, oppose “defamation of religions” concept

Consultations on the Pakistani-sponsored “Defamation of Religions” Human Rights Council resolution continued today at the U.N. Human Rights Council with the USA and Canada proposing various amendments to significantly change the draft. The UK for the EU said that it was not proposing any textual changes because the Pakistani chair had said in the previous session that he would not consider making “fundamental” revisions.

Continue reading ‘USA and Canada stand up for free-speech, oppose “defamation of religions” concept’