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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Full text of the defamation of religion declaration

79. At the 39th meeting, on 11 November, the representative of Uganda, on behalf
of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Organization
of the Islamic Conference, Belarus and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of),
introduced a draft resolution entitled “Combating defamation of religions”
(A/C.3/63/L.22), which read as follows:
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the pledge made by all States, under the Charter of the
United Nations, to promote and encourage universal respect for and
observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction
as to race, sex, language or religion,
Recalling the relevant international instruments on the elimination of
discrimination, in particular the International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of
Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief, the Declaration
on the Human Rights of Individuals Who are not Nationals of the Country in
which They Live and the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to
National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,
Recalling also the relevant resolutions of the Commission on Human
Rights and the Human Rights Council in this regard,
Welcoming the resolve expressed in the United Nations Millennium
Declaration adopted by the General Assembly on 8 September 2000 to take
measures to eliminate the increasing acts of racism and xenophobia in many
societies and to promote greater harmony and tolerance in all societies, and
looking forward to its effective implementation at all levels,
Underlining in this regard the importance of the Durban Declaration and
Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference against Racism, Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South
Africa, in 2001, welcoming the progress achieved in implementing the
Declaration and Programme of Action, and emphasizing that they constitute a
solid foundation for the elimination of all scourges and manifestations of
racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,
Expressing concern at the increase in racist violence and xenophobic
ideas in many parts of the world, in political circles, in the sphere of public
opinion and in society at large, as a result, inter alia, of the resurgence of
activities of political parties and associations established on the basis of racist
and xenophobic platforms and charters, and the persistent use of those
platforms and charters to promote or incite racist ideologies,
Deeply alarmed at the rising trends towards discrimination based on
religion or belief, including in some national policies, laws and administrative
measures that stigmatize groups of people belonging to certain religions and
beliefs under a variety of pretexts relating to security and illegal immigration,
thereby legitimizing discrimination against them, and consequently impairing
their enjoyment of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,
and impeding their ability to observe, practise and manifest their religion
freely and without fear of coercion, violence or reprisal,
Noting with deep concern the serious instances of intolerance,
discrimination and acts of violence based on religion or belief, intimidation
and coercion motivated by extremism, religious or otherwise, occurring in
many parts of the world, in addition to the negative projection of Islam in the
media and the introduction and enforcement of laws and administrative
measures that specifically discriminate against and target Muslims, in
particular Muslim minorities following the events of 11 September 2001, and
that threaten to impede their full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental
Stressing that defamation of religions is a serious affront to human
dignity leading to the restriction of the freedom of religion of their adherents
and incitement to religious hatred and violence,
Stressing also the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions
and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular,
Reaffirming that discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief
constitutes a violation of human rights and a disavowal of the principles of the
Charter of the United Nations,
Noting with concern that defamation of religions, and incitement to
religious hatred in general, could lead to social disharmony and violations of
human rights, and alarmed at the inaction of some States to combat this
burgeoning trend and the resulting discriminatory practices against adherents
of certain religions,
Taking note of the reports of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary
forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,
submitted to the Human Rights Council at its fourth and sixth sessions, which
draw attention to the serious nature of the defamation of all religions, and
reiterating the call of the Special Rapporteur to all States to wage a systematic
campaign against incitement to racial and religious hatred by maintaining a
careful balance between the defence of secularism and respect for freedom of
religion and by acknowledging and respecting the complementarity of all the
freedoms embodied in the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Recalling the proclamation of the Global Agenda for Dialogue among
Civilizations, and inviting States, the organizations and bodies of the United
Nations system, within existing resources, other international and regional
organizations and civil societies to contribute to the implementation of the
Programme of Action contained in the Global Agenda,
Welcoming the efforts of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative in
promoting mutual respect and understanding among different cultures and
societies, as well as the forthcoming second forum of the Alliance, to be held
in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 and 3 April 2009,
Convinced that respect for cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic
diversity, as well as dialogue among and within civilizations, is essential for
peace, understanding and friendship among individuals and people of the
different cultures and nations of the world, while manifestations of cultural
prejudice, intolerance and xenophobia towards people belonging to different
cultures, religions and beliefs generate hatred and violence among peoples and
nations throughout the world,
Recognizing the valuable contributions of all religions and beliefs to
modern civilization and the contribution that dialogue among civilizations can
make to an improved awareness and understanding of common values,
Underlining the important role of education in the promotion of
tolerance and the elimination of discrimination based on religion or belief,
Reaffirming the need for all States to continue their national and
international efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among
civilizations, cultures, religions and beliefs, and emphasizing that States,
regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, religious bodies and
the media have an important role to play in promoting tolerance, respect for
and freedom of religion and belief,
Welcoming all international and regional initiatives aimed at promoting
cross-cultural and interfaith harmony, including the International Dialogue on
Interfaith Cooperation, held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on 6 and 7 December
2004, and the World Conference on Dialogue, held in Madrid from
16 to 18 July 2008, and their valuable efforts towards the promotion of a
culture of peace and dialogue at all levels, and taking note with appreciation of
the final declaration adopted at the conference on ‘Common world: progress
through diversity’, held in Astana on 17 October 2008,
Underlining the importance of increasing contacts at all levels in order
to deepen dialogue and reinforce understanding among different cultures,
religions, beliefs and civilizations, and welcoming in this regard the
Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the Ministerial Meeting on
Human Rights and Cultural Diversity of the Movement of Non-Aligned
Countries, held in Tehran on 3 and 4 September 2007,
Recalling its resolution 62/154 of 18 December 2007,
“1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General and the
conclusions contained therein;
“2. Expresses deep concern at the negative stereotyping of religions
and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or
belief still evident in the world;
“3. Strongly deplores all acts of ideological and physical violence and
assaults, and incitement thereto, against persons on the basis of their religion
or belief, and such acts directed against their businesses, properties, cultural
centres and places of worship, as well as targeting of holy sites and religious
symbols of all religions;
“4. Expresses deep concern at the programmes and agendas pursued by
extremist organizations and groups aimed at the defamation of religions, and
incitement to religious hatred in general, in particular when condoned by
“5. Notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of
defamation of religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general,
including the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the
aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001;
“6. Recognizes that, in the context of the fight against terrorism and the
reaction to counter-terrorism measures, defamation of religions, and incitement
to religious hatred in general, become aggravating factors that contribute to the
denial of fundamental rights and freedoms of members of target groups, as
well as their economic and social exclusion;
“7. Expresses deep concern in this respect that Islam is frequently and
wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism;
“8. Reiterates the commitment of all States to the implementation, in an
integrated manner, of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy,
which was adopted without a vote by the General Assembly on 8 September
2006, and which clearly affirms, inter alia, that terrorism cannot and should
not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group,
stressing the need to reinforce the international community’s commitment to
promote a culture of peace, justice and human development, ethnic, national
and religious tolerance, and respect for all religions, religious values, beliefs
or cultures and prevent the defamation of religions;
“9. Deplores the use of the print, audio-visual and electronic media,
including the Internet, and any other means to incite acts of violence,
xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination against any religion,
including Islam, as well as targeting of religious symbols;
“10. Emphasizes that, as stipulated in international human rights law,
everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference and the right to
freedom of expression, and that the exercise of these rights carries with it
special duties and responsibilities and may therefore be subject to limitations
as are provided for by law and are necessary for respect of the rights or
reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public
health or morals;
“11. Reaffirms that general recommendation XV (42) of the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in which the Committee
stipulated that the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon
racial superiority or hatred is compatible with freedom of opinion and
expression, is equally applicable to the question of incitement to religious
“12. Invites the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism,
racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the Special
Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion
and expression to continue to carry out their work as mandated by the Human
Rights Council in its resolutions 7/34 and 7/36 of 28 March 2008;
“13. Reaffirms the obligation of all States to enact the necessary
legislation to prohibit the advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that
constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and urges States
to take resolute action in this regard;
“14. Urges all States to provide, within their respective legal and
constitutional systems, adequate protection against acts of hatred,
discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of
religions and incitement to religious hatred in general, to take all possible
measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs and the
understanding of their value systems and to complement legal systems with
intellectual and moral strategies to combat religious hatred and intolerance;
“15. Also urges all States to ensure that all public officials, including
members of law enforcement bodies, the military, civil servants and educators,
in the course of their official duties, respect people regardless of their different
religions and beliefs and do not discriminate against persons on the grounds of
their religion or belief, and that any necessary and appropriate education or
training is provided;
“16. Underscores the need to combat defamation of religions, and
incitement to religious hatred in general, by strategizing and harmonizing
actions at the local, national, regional and international levels through
education and awareness-raising;
“17. Urges States to ensure equal access to education for all, in law and
in practice, including access to free primary education for all children, both
girls and boys, and access for adults to lifelong learning and education based
on respect for human rights, diversity and tolerance, without discrimination of
any kind, and to refrain from any legal or other measures leading to racial
segregation in access to schooling;
“18. Calls upon the international community to foster a global dialogue
to promote a culture of tolerance and peace based on respect for human rights
and diversity of religion and belief, and urges States, non-governmental
organizations, religious bodies and the print and electronic media to support
and participate in such a dialogue;
“19. Affirms that the Human Rights Council shall promote universal
respect for all religious and cultural values and address instances of
intolerance, discrimination and incitement of hatred against members of any
community or adherents of any religion, as well as promote ways to
consolidate international efforts in order to combat impunity for such
deplorable acts;
“20. Welcomes the initiative by the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to hold an expert seminar on freedom of expression and
advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination,
hostility and violence, which was held on 2 and 3 October 2008, and requests
the High Commissioner to continue to build on this initiative, with a view to
preventing and eliminating all such forms of incitement and the consequences
of negative stereotyping of religions or beliefs, and their adherents, on the
human rights of those individuals and their communities;
“21. Takes note of the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to promote and include human rights aspects in educational
programmes, particularly the World Programme for Human Rights Education
proclaimed by the General Assembly on 10 December 2004, and calls upon the
High Commissioner to continue those efforts, with particular focus on:
“(a) The contributions of cultures, as well as religious and cultural
“(b) Collaboration with other relevant bodies of the United Nations
system and regional and international organizations in holding joint
conferences designed to encourage the dialogue among civilizations and
promote understanding of the universality of human rights and their
implementation at various levels, in particular the Office of the United Nations
High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations and the unit within the
Secretariat mandated to interact with various entities within the United Nations
system and coordinate their contribution to the intergovernmental process;
“22. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on the
implementation of the present resolution, including on the possible correlation
between defamation of religions and the upsurge in incitement, intolerance and
hatred in many parts of the world, to the General Assembly at its sixty-fourth
80. At its 46th meeting, on 24 November, the Committee had before it a revised
text of the draft resolution (A/C.3/63/L.22/Rev.1), which the representative of
Uganda orally revised by replacing, in the eighth preambular paragraph, the words
“illegal immigration” by the words “irregular immigration”.
81. At the same meeting, statements were made by the representative of Egypt and
the observer for the Holy See (see A/C.3/63/SR.46).
82. Also at its 46th meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution
A/C.3/63/L.22/Rev.1, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 85 to 50, with 42 abstentions
(see para. 182, draft resolution IV). The voting was as follows:
In favour:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire,
Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt,
El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras,
Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan,
Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho,
Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania,
Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria,
Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa,
Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan,
Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab
Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen,
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus,
Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein,
Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco,
Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal,
Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino,
Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, United States of America.
Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican
Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti,
India, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia,
Nauru, Nepal, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Timor-
Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu,
83. Before the vote, statements were made by the representatives of India, the
United States and France (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations
that are members of the European Union and associated States); after the vote,
statements were made by the representatives of Nigeria, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and
Singapore (see A/C.3/63/SR.46).


Anonymous said...

Let's call a spade a spade.
This is a defamation of Islam Declaration.


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