Posted by: becketfund | December 18, 2008

Religious Liberty takes Two Steps Backward and One Step Forward at UN

The “defamation of religions” resolution passed the General Assembly today with a vote of 86 in favor, 53 against, and 42 abstentions.  Although the passage of this resolution continues a 9-year tradition at the UN, it marks a significant backlash against a resolution that passed with an overwhelming 108 votes in favor, 51 against, and 25 abstentions last year at the General Assembly.

“With the passage of this resolution, the United Nations has once again failed to live up to its promise.  Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘everyone has the right to freedom of thought conscience and religion.’  Article 19 expands on this freedom by guaranteeing “the right to freedom of opinion and expression.’  The ‘defamation of religions’ resolution is a direct violation of this mandate, as peaceful religious speech – a manifestation of belief – will be silenced as a result of it,” said Angela C. Wu, International Law Director of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

We are deeply disappointed that the UN has given cover to oppressive governments to persecute dissenters.  Governments have no place determining what is and is not blasphemy.  Although it is disappointing that religious freedom takes another step backwards today, we are extremely encouraged that the majority of countries in the world did not vote in favor of banning peaceful religious speech.”

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