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UN Human Rights Council: Special rapporteur reports on defamation of religions

Thursday 15 October 2009, by siawi2

UN Human Rights Council: Special rapporteur reports on defamation of religions

(Source: 30 September 2009, International Service for Human Rights)

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mr Githu Muigai, under agenda item 9 presented his recent report on ’all manifestations of defamation of religions, and in particular on the serious implications of Islamophobia, on the enjoyment of all human rights by their follower’ to the Human Rights Council (the Council) on 30 September 2009.

During the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance two opposing positions became apparent. Several Islamic States supported the concept of ’defamation of religions’, whereas other mainly non-Islamic States rejected the concept as not relevant to international human rights law. Countries in favour of the concept attacked the Special Rapport for having engaged in a theoretical discussion on the issue in the report rather than having taken stock of the various manifestations of ’defamation of religion’. These States also strongly criticised the Special Rapporteur’s conclusion that the existing international legal framework provides effective mechanisms to combat and protect people from religious discrimination. In contrast European and Latin American States as well as the US welcomed the approach taken by the Special Rapporteur to look at the issues related to ’defamation of religions’ within the existing legal framework for the protection against incitement to hatred. They claimed that the existing framework, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (ICERD) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), provides norms and standards to guide governments to combat religious discrimination. States that generally were supportive with regards to the Special Rapporteur’s report reiterated that the focus of the report on Islamophobia does not reflect religious intolerance fully as it is apparent worldwide and not only affects one specific religion or region.