Tuesday, December 20, 2011

UN Human Rights Council Drops Condemnation of Defamation of Religion

From this Reuters article:
For the first time in more than a decade, the U.N. General Assembly on Monday condemned religious intolerance without urging states to outlaw "defamation of religions," an appeal critics said opened the door to abusive "blasphemy" laws...

Earlier this year Western countries and their Latin American allies joined Muslim and African states in backing a new approach that switched the focus from protecting beliefs to protecting believers. That new approach led to Monday's resolution.

Since 1998, the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) had won majority approval in U.N. rights bodies in Geneva and at the U.N. General Assembly for annual resolutions on "combating defamation of religions."

Critics said the concept ran against international law and free speech and left the way open for tough "blasphemy" laws like those in Pakistan that have been invoked this year by the killers of two moderate politicians there.

They argued that it also allowed states where one religion predominates to keep religious minorities under tight control or even leave them open to forced conversion or oppression.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

USCIRF Reauthorized for Three Years

This is good news for our class because we use USCIRF produced materials. You can read about the Congressional bill here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

USCIRF Taking Steps to Shut Down

You can read about it here. This is sad news for our class because we used the information collected and disseminated by the USCIRF in learning about religious freedom around the world. Fortunately, the Commission is taking steps to archive all of its records.