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ICC Note

Adding anti-defamation language to a new resolution the U.N. is proposing for their human rights council sounds like it would increase religious freedom, it would, in fact, only limit freedoms, and would make it very dangerous for Christians living in Muslim-majority areas as they could be accused of “blaspheming” over nothing.

Muslim Leaders Want UN to Outlaw ‘Defamation’
By Patrick Goodenough
CNSNews.com (02/21/06)

To read the full story, click here: Muslim Leaders Want UN to Outlaw Defamation

(CNSNews.com) – Disturbed by Muslim leaders’ attempts to criminalize any criticism of Islam, human rights campaigners are urging the United Nations to resist pressure to outlaw religious defamation in a resolution creating the U.N.’s new human rights council.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a Saudi-based grouping of the world’s 57 Muslim states, wants the resolution’s draft text to include a reference to “actions against religions, prophets and beliefs” and to state that “defamation of religions and prophets is inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression.”
OIC ambassadors discussed the plan with Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday.
The demand is just one of five steps the OIC says are necessary to defuse the crisis over the publication in European and other newspapers of cartoons satirizing Mohammed, and to prevent recurrences.
The controversy continues to roil the Islamic world, and more than 35 people have been killed in rioting by Muslims offended by what they regard as blasphemy.
The other four steps proposed by the OIC are the adoption of a U.N. General Assembly resolution prohibiting the “defamation of all prophets and faiths”; the passage of legislation in the European Parliament “against Islamophobia”; the adoption of a “code of ethics” for European media; and the implementation of a U.N. media standard ” which should cover a definition of freedom of speech in case of religious symbols.”
Three human rights groups on Monday appealed to the U.N. to reject the attempt to incorporate the religious language into the text of the resolution that will establish the human rights council.
Negotiators have been wrestling over the draft for weeks. The council would replace the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, whose work was discredited by rights violating nations who used their membership to deflect criticism from their own records.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization, said that including the religious precepts into the charter of the new council “would be appeasement to violence and taint the body at its birth.”
In a joint statement with Washington-based Freedom House and the Transnational Radical Party, a human rights and democracy NGO based in Italy , U.N. Watch suggested the OIC move was an attempt to sabotage what has been a difficult process to reform the U.N.’s human rights function.
Neuer called it a last-minute attempt to derail the train of progress that seeks enhanced scrutiny of states that abuse human rights.”
The three rights groups said the U.N. should reject the OIC proposal because the new council’s mandate would be to promote rights including freedom of expression, press and religion.

To read the full story, click here: Muslim Leaders Want UN to Outlaw Defamation