November 9, 2010 ☼ Foreign Affairs ☼ fundamental rights ☼ human rights ☼ India ☼ liberalism ☼ United Nations ☼ United States
This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.
We’ve said it before. The UN Human Rights Council is more than a farce. It is a rogue outfit that is poisoning the whole pond and has gone beyond the ability of liberal democracies of the world to control.
Freedom House’s Paula Schriefer reminds us that it is still stalking our freedoms, but she doesn’t go far enough:
This week, member states of the United Nations will vote on what has become an annual resolution, “On Combating Defamation of Religions,” put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group of 57 states with large Islamic populations. The resolution condemns what it calls “defamation of religions”—a vague notion that can perhaps best be described as a form of expression that offends another’s religious sensibilities—and urges countries to enact laws that prohibit such forms of expression. The resolutions are part of a larger and dangerous campaign to create a global blasphemy law to combat what Muslim leaders refer to as “Islamophobia.”
Yet hypocrisy in Europe and the United States does not justify attempts to bring governmental oversight into what constitutes offensive expression. Even with the best intentions, which are often lacking, governments should never be in the business of policing speech. The tools of defeating intolerance, including religious intolerance, start with a legislative environment that protects people’s fundamental political rights and civil liberties, including freedom of expression. Blasphemy laws don’t work in any context and U.N. member states should reject them unconditionally. [NYT]
You can’t allow the hard won freedom that we have in India or in the United States to be snatched away by majority vote by a supra-national institution. The correct response is not so much to try and defeat the motion whenever it comes up—and it will come up again and again—but rather shut the whole thing down. No one will miss the demise of the UN Human Rights Council, except those who need it for purposes opposite to the reason it was was brought into existence.
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