27 March 2009
27 March 2009
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has strongly condemned Thursday's passage in the United Nation Human Rights Council of a resolution calling "defamation of religion" a human rights violation. The council adopted the text proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that, in essence, deems criticism of Islam a human rights violation.
"The World Jewish Congress, long a leader in the effort to champion human rights and freedom of religion, has for many years defended the rights of the members of all faiths, including the Muslim faith," said Ronald S. Lauder, president of the WJC. "However, we strongly oppose the issue of ‘defamation of religions' being cast as a human rights violation at the United Nations. We see it as weakening the rights of individuals to express their views and criticize other religions, and, in the case of this specific resolution, particularly Islam."
Lauder added: "This resolution is an attempt to bring to the international body the blasphemy laws prevalent in some Muslim countries. In accordance with human rights laws, the rights of individuals to express their views should be protected and not restricted or punished by the state. Today's vote is unfortunately only a harbinger for what may yet transpire in Geneva at the upcoming Durban Review Conference as proposals such as this one keep coming to the fore," he said.
The World Jewish Congress is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 92 countries. Founded in Geneva in 1936, the WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments and international organizations. It has special consultative stays with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The Durban Review Conference is to be held from 20-24 April 2009 in Geneva. The UN Human Rights Council is organizing the event.
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