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Now is the Time

 

 
 

THE TANDEM PROJECT
http://www.tandemproject.com

UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
 FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF


The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations


RESOLUTION ON DEFAMATION OF RELIGIONS (A/HRC/13/L.1)
13TH SESSION UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Issue: Consensus fails again - Resolution Combating Defamation of Religions

For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society

Review: Resolution on Defamation of Religions - 13th Session UN Human Rights Council

The resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions in Geneva was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday 25 March 2010. The vote was 20 for, 17 against, 8 abstentions.  The resolution was adopted. This continues a lack of consensus started in December 2007 for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Resolution on Defamation of Religions passed in New York in November 2009 (See attachments).  However, the final report by Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, to the UN Human Rights Council was well received and the language in this year’s Resolution Combating Defamation of Religions expressed strong support for continuing dialogue to find consensus on these issues. A new Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief with a three year mandate will be adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at the June meeting. 

DRAFT

NUMBER

SUBMITTED BY

TITLE

Resolution

A/HRC/13/L.1

Pakistan (on behalf of OIC)

Combating defamation of Religions

 

Pakistan (on behalf of OIC)
Mr. Zamir Akram

video[English] 8 minutes

Link to Inter-active Discussion on A/HRC/13/L.1
http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=100325
Open the link above to the Inter-active Discussion by the UN Human Rights Council of the draft Resolution on Defamation of Religions.

Freedom of Religion or Belief and Freedom of Opinion and Expression is an inviolable principle of democracy. International human rights norms and standards are universal for protection of individuals. They cannot be compromised by organizations, religions or beliefs, culture or tradition. Religion or belief, for anyone who professes either, is one of the fundamental elements of life and should be fully respected and guaranteed.

From 1960-68 the United Nations met on a draft International Convention on Religious Intolerance before deferring work because of its sensitivity and complexity. Since December 2007, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and General Assembly in New York has failed to reach consensus on the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, defamation of religion, restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom to leave a religion or belief. 

To resolve this impasse the United Nations Human Rights Council might consider an Open-ended Working Group to draft an International Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief that would elevate and focus the discussion and resources at a higher level on an annual basis. Since 1986 The Tandem Project call has been to renew work to draft an International Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief as a core international human rights treaty, deferred since 1968.

The differences in meaning of international human rights law, universality vs. relativity, culture, tradition and freedom of religion or belief and freedom of opinion and expression may be too deep to be resolved or compromised as suggested by an optional protocol or complimentary standards seconded to other human rights instruments.  

Attachments: Freedom of Religion or Belief – Mandate without Consensus; Vote on Defamation of Religions (New York); Resolution on Defamation of Religions (Geneva); Freedom of Opinion and Expression. 


The Tandem Project is a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1986 to build understanding, tolerance and respect for diversity, and to prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project has sponsored multiple conferences, curricula, reference materials and programs on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Surely one of the best hopes for humankind is to embrace a culture in which religions and other beliefs accept one another, in which wars and violence are not tolerated in the name of an exclusive right to truth, in which children are raised to solve conflicts with mediation, compassion and understanding. 

In 1968 the UN deferred work on an International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance because of the sensitivity and complexity of reconciling a human rights treaty with dissonant worldviews and voices on religion or belief. Instead, in 1981 the United Nations adopted a non-binding Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief in support of Article 18:  http://www.tandemproject.com/program/81_dec.htm.

Separation of Religion or Belief and State

Separation of Religion or Belief and State reflects the far-reaching scope of UN General Comment 22 on Article 18: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1993, UN Human Rights Committee. 
http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9a30112c27d1167cc12563ed004d8f15?Opendocument

Inclusive and genuine dialogue on human rights and freedom of religion or belief are between people of theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right of persons not to profess any religion or belief. It calls for discussion on: awareness, understanding, acceptance; cooperation, competition, conflict; respectful discourse, taboos and clarity by persons of diverse beliefs.

Does Religion or Belief Trump Human Rights or Human Rights Trump Religion or Belief?

Universal human rights with limitations protect all religions or beliefs; all religions or beliefs do not protect human rights. In this respect human rights trump religion or belief to protect individuals against all forms of discrimination on grounds of religion or belief by the State, institutions, groups of persons and persons. After forty years suffering, violence and conflict based on religion or belief has increased in many parts of the world.  The two options are to continue trying to gradually reduce intolerance and discrimination or to strengthen protection by calling for a new international treaty deferred since 1968.
Is it time for the UN to draft a legally binding International Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief: United Nations History – Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Freedom of Religion or Belief in Tandem with Human Rights