UN Blasphemy Resolution Fails
A piece of good news from the UN.
The UN Resolution to ban “defamation of religion”, brought forward by a group of 56 Islamic countries led by Pakistan (about which I blogged here, here and here) has been removed from the UN agenda due to lack of sufficient votes. [Examiner reports]
The so-called “blasphemy” resolution introduced by Pakistan and supported by some Middle East regimes called upon governments to combat critical, insulting or defamatory statements about religion, specifically the Islamic faith. The measure lacked sufficient votes in the UN General Assembly to become a binding resolution; and the proposal will not be on the agenda at the Durban II conference slated for Geneva next month.
Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists had this to say
“The ‘blasphemy’ resolutions were aimed at regulating personal opinions and expression, and had nothing to do with acts of violence against ethnic or religious groups ……religious creeds and movements should not enjoy special rights or protections, especially where freedom of speech is concerned.”
Isn’t it ludicrous for the OIC to claim that criticizing or lampooning their religious beliefs is a human rights violation and leads to discrimination and violence against them, when majority of the 56 Muslim countries of the OIC have the most dismal human rights record ?
However, the problem with such a ban, if passed, is that it would have given autocratic regimes greater power to use it at the slightest provocation (which I think they still do but at a relatively lesser scale) as such a law would have been too vague to follow and would have been open to interpretation. Not only would such a ban be against freedom of speech but it would have also been against international law as defamation charges can only be brought against individuals, not beliefs or ideologies.
I am sure the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) is going to come back with this resolution next year, but it is a small victory for all freedom lovers nevertheless. For now at least.