defamation of religions

محمد البارودى   في الجمعة ٠٦ - نوفمبر - ٢٠٠٩ ١٢:٠٠ صباحاً


Dear All,  

 

We just wanted to send out a quick update on where things stand with the civil society sign-on statement regarding "defamation of religions."  Thus far we've had almost 80 organizations from 13 different countries sign-on, so thanks to those who have already signed on.

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  We decided to delay the public release of the statement for a few reasons:  

 

1. Numbers of sign-ons continue to grow, and we wanted to be sure as many groups as possible could sign on.

 

2. The draft of the "defamation of religions" resolution at the General Assembly was released just last week.  It is available here in case you are interested in seeing it.

 

3. Last week in Geneva, the Ad Hoc Committee on complementary international standards, established by the Durban racism review process, discussed the first binding treaty on "defamation of religions," which has added gravity to the situation. 

 

Given these developments, we have decided to extend our deadline for sign-ons to this Friday, November 6 by close of business.  Please look at the list of NGOs below and forward this on to any organization you believe is missing from that list. 

 
On Monday, we will send all organizations a final copy of the letter and would encourage all organizations to send your own press releases on Tuesday, November 10.  The strategic timing of this release should work well alongside informal discussions that will be occurring in New York on the General Assembly resolution and further deliberations around the world about the future of a binding international treaty on this concept.


Please don't hesitate to contact Ashley Samelson with any questions at asamelson@becketfund.org.
 
The Becket Fund
 
 
 
A COMMON STATEMENT from CIVIL SOCIETY on the concept of “Defamation of Religions”:
 
United Nations resolutions on the `defamation of religions' are incompatible with the fundamental freedoms of individuals to freely exercise and peacefully express their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs.
 
Unlike traditional defamation laws, which punish false statements of fact that harm individual persons, measures prohibiting the `defamation of religions' punish the peaceful criticism of ideas. Additionally, the concept of `defamation of religions' is fundamentally inconsistent with the universal principles outlined in the United Nations' founding documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms the protection of the rights of individuals, rather than ideas.
 
Such resolutions provide international support for domestic laws against blasphemy and “injury to religious feelings”, which are often abused by governments to punish the peaceful expression of disfavored political or religious beliefs and ideas. Moreover, existing international legal instruments already address discrimination, personal defamation, and incitement in ways that are more carefully focused to confront those specific problems without unduly threatening the rights of freedom of expression and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
 
It is vitally important for governments to combat violence motivated by bias and hatred and to encourage respectful speech and civil dialogue, while at the same time affirming that freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion are integral to the health of free societies and the dignity of the human person.
 
Finally, legal efforts alone cannot foster an environment of respect and religious freedom. Education and public diplomacy are vital tools in the protection of a peaceful and robust exchange of ideas and beliefs.
 
Signed:
 
ACT! for America
 
American Congress for Truth
 
American Center for Law and Justice
 
American Ethical Union
 
American Humanist Association
 
American Textbook Council
 
Advocates International
 
American Islamic Congress
 
American Islamic Forum for Democracy
 
American Jewish Congress
 
Anti-Defamation League
 
Bahá'í International Community
 
Barnabus Aid BCV Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths, Australia
 
B’nai B’rith International
 
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the U.S.
 
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
 
Baptist World Alliance
 
Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa, Germany and Austria
 
European Humanist Federation
 
Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
 
The Center for Economic and Social Justice
 
Center for Inquiry, UK
 
Center for Islamic Pluralism, Washington D.C./London/Koln
 
Center for Political Studies, Denmark
 
Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute
 
Center for Security Policy
 
Centre d’Action Laïque, Belgium
 
China Aid Association
 
Christian Copts of California
 
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
 
Church of Scientology of Amsterdam
 
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, South Africa
 
CNP Action, Inc.
 
Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights
 
Committee for the Freedom of Prisoners of Conscience in Uzbekistan
 
Concerned Women for America
 
Dalit Freedom Network
 
David Horowitz Freedom Center
 
Democracy Coalition Project
 
Dutch Platform on International Freedom of Religion or Belief
 
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
 
Endowment for Middle East Truth
 
Forum for Civic Responsibility
 
Freedom House
 
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
 
GeoStrategic Analysis of Potomac, Maryland
 
Higgins Counterterrorism Research Center
 
Humanistisch-Vrijzinnige Vereniging, Belgium
 
Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands, Germany
 
Indonesia Legal Resource Center, Indonesia
 
International Al Hewar Almasry Center for Copts Human Rights in Egypt
 
International Center for Religion & Diplomacy
 
International Christian Concern
 
International Civil Liberties Alliance
 
International Humanist and Ethical Union, United Kingdom
 
International Quranic Center
 
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
 
The Investigative Project on Terrorism
 
Jubilee Campaign
 
The Legal Project of the Middle East Forum
 
LibForAll Foundation
 
Mission Europa, Austria
 
Open Doors International
 
Open Doors USA
 
Os Guinness, Author
 
Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life
 
The Phyllis Chesler Organization
 
Rapid Response Group, Uzbekistan
 
Religious Freedom Coalition
 
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, Russia
 
TIFA Foundation, Indonesia
 
Traditional Values Coalition
 
UN Watch
 
U.S. Copts Association
 
Vienna Akademikerbund, Austria
 
Vigilance, Inc.
 
The Westminster Institute
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