UN human rights commission urges action against religious defamation

13 April 2005 – The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has called on the international community to open a global dialogue to combat the defamation of religions, citing specifically the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities after the terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001.

In a resolution adopted yesterday by 31 votes in favour, 16 against and five abstentions, the Commission expressed deep concern at negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence parts of the world.

Specifically, it voiced deep concern that Islam was frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism, and it requested the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to continue to present a report on the situation of Muslims and Arab peoples in various parts of the world and the discrimination faced by them.

The resolution also expressed deep concern at programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at the defamation of religions, in particular when supported by Governments.

It strongly deplored physical attacks and assaults on businesses, cultural centres and places of worship of all religions as well as targeting of religious symbols, and called on the international community to initiate a dialogue to promote a culture of tolerance and peace based on respect for human rights and religious diversity.

It urged States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), religious bodies and the print and electronic media to support and promote such a dialogue.

In a resolution on the right to development, adopted by 48 votes in favour, two against and two abstentions, the Commission requested UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour to strengthen the global partnership for development between Member States, development agencies and the international development, financial and trade institutions.

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