Islamic states threaten UN spokesman for defending free speech
Free Speech Death Watch Update: “Islamic states clash with UN expert on free speech,” from Deutsche Presse Agentur, June 3 (thanks to Twostellas):
Geneva – Islamic states have fired back at a United Nations- appointed special expert on freedom of expression, who said that speech should not be restricted in order to protect religion. “Restrictions should never be used to protect particular institutions or abstract notions, concepts or beliefs, including religious ones,” wrote Frank La Rue in his report presented to the Human Rights Council, which started its 11th regular session this week.He was engaged in an open discussion on his report with diplomats on Tuesday and Wednesday.
La Rue, a Guatemalan human rights jurist, said restrictions to prevent intolerance should only be applied to “advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”
He also called on the council, and the UN General Assembly in New York, not to adopt resolutions that support the idea of defamation of religion.
At its previous session in March the council adopted, in a blow to European nations, a resolution condemning the so-called defamation of religion as a human rights violation.
Addressing La Rue at the current session, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Zamir Akram, speaking on behalf of the 57 member- states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), slammed La Rue for not reporting on the “abuses of this freedom.”
He said La Rue only focused on “the promotional aspect of this right.”
The African Group, led by Egypt, also said it opposed La Rue for not focusing more on the “abuse” of freedom of speech and for not listing incidents of racial and religious incitement against migrants. The Arab Group made similar comments.
Pakistan’s ambassador said the OIC would monitor the expert and “take an appropriate course of action” if he deviated again from the mandate they wanted him to implement….