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UN rights council passes resolution opposing public defamation of Islam

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website; JURIST news archive] passed a resolution on "Combating defamation of religions" by a vote of 24 to 14, with 9 abstentions Friday, expressing a "deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations... and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities... in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001." The statement [text], endorsed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference [official website], was opposed by members of the European Union, and other non-Muslim states like Canada, South Korea, and Japan partly because of its specific emphasis on Islam and concerns that the statement contradicted freedom of expression rights. It follows calls by Muslim leaders and lawmakers in several countries for legal limits on anti-Islamic speech [JURIST report] more in line with Western laws on hate speech against Jews and Christians.

The Human Rights Council has been criticized for its limited successes in Israel and Sudan last year, when both countries refused to accept UNHRC investigative teams. On March 13, Sudan attempted to block the UNHRC from considering a report [JURIST report] by a UNHRC team that was dispatched to investigate conditions in Darfur [JURIST news archive]. Also in March, UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon urged member states to work with the UNCHR [JURIST report]. The United States has twice refused to run for election to the body [JURIST report], citing its failure to adequately address violations in Darfur, North Korea, and China. AP has more.

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