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UN member states should vote against proposed resolution on "vilification of religions", say ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS

(ARTICLE 19/ CIHRS/ IFEX) - 19 November 2010 - ARTICLE 19 and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) urge UN Member States to vote against the draft resolution proposed at the current session of the UN General Assembly on "combating religious hatred and vilification of religions".

"We are extremely concerned about the draft resolution on 'vilification of religions' proposed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference," says Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. "It fails to address our concerns about earlier resolutions on 'defamation of religions' or meet the standards set down in Article 20 of the ICCPR. While we welcome the dropping of the phrase 'defamation of religions', the content and implications are even more far reaching than earlier resolutions on combating 'defamation of religions', which we have found so problematic from an international human rights perspective".

In response to the draft resolution, ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS have produced a detailed legal analysis which raises three areas of concern:

• 'Vilification of religions' is even broader than 'defamation of religions' and will have far reaching negative implications for freedom of expression;
• The draft distorts and undermines states' international human rights obligations, particularly with respect to Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and
• The draft continues to legitimise the fundamentally flawed notion of 'defamation of religions' and, if adopted, will provide international support to national laws on blasphemy and defamation of religions which are often used by repressive states to silence religious and political opponents, government critics and dissidents, as well as religious minorities and critics of religions.

ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS urge all Member States to vote against the resolution.

Click here to read the full analysis
For the draft resolution on combating defamation of religions, click here

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