Joint NGO Statement on Danger of U.N. «Defamation of Religions» Campaign

Joint NGO Statement on Danger of U.N. «Defamation of Religions» Campaign
25 March 2009

Twenty-seven IFEX members join numerous other organisations in urging UN Human Rights Council members to reject «Defamation of Religions» resolution

SOURCE: Freedom House, New York

(Freedom House/IFEX) – The following is a joint statement by 186 signatories, including 27 IFEX members, calling on United Nations member states to reject the «defamation of religions» resolution tabled at the UN Human Rights Council:

We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations,

Deeply concerned by the pervasive and mounting campaign by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to produce U.N. resolutions, declarations, and world conferences that propagate the concept of «defamation of religions,» a concept having no basis in domestic or international law, and which would alter the very meaning of human rights, which protect individuals from harm, but not beliefs from critical inquiry;

Deeply concerned by the attempt to misuse the U.N. to legitimize blasphemy laws, thereby restricting freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press;

Deeply concerned that «defamation of religions» resolutions may be used in certain countries to silence and intimidate human rights activists, religious dissenters, and other independent voices;

Alarmed by the resolution on «defamation of religions» recently tabled at the current 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council;

Alarmed by the draft resolution on freedom of expression circulated by Egypt, whose amendments seek to restrict, not promote, protections for free speech;

Alarmed by the recently-announced initiative of the U.N. «Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards» to amend the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by adding a protocol on «defamation of religions»;

Alarmed by provisions in the latest draft outcome document of the Durban Review Conference that, through coded language and veiled references, endorse and encourage these anti-democratic initiatives;

1. Call upon all governments to oppose the «defamation of religions» resolution currently tabled at the UN Human Rights Council, and the objectionable provisions of the freedom of expression resolution;

2. Call upon all governments to resist the efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards to alter the ICERD;

3. Call upon all governments not to accept or legitimize a Durban Review Conference outcome that directly or indirectly supports the «defamation of religions» campaign at the expense of basic freedoms and individual human rights.

1. UN Watch
2. International Humanist and Ethical Union
3. Freedom House
4. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
5. Centre for Political Studies (CEPOS)
6. Muslim Council of Canada
7. International Association of Prosecutors
8. World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission
9. Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (Italy)
10. The International Quranic Center (IQC)
11. International Press Institute (IPI)
12. Human Rights Without Frontiers International
13. Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme (LICRA)
14. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)
15. American Islamic Congress
16. World Union of Progressive Judaism
17. United Nations Association of Mauritius
18. World Jewish Congress
19. Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI)
20. Association for World Education
21. Association of World Citizens
22. International Publishers Association
23. The Institute for African Alternatives
24. International Jurist Organization
25. Frontiers Association (Lebanon)
26. International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty
27. Rationalist Association
28. Greek Helsinki Monitor
29. British Humanist Association
30. Sidmennt Ethical Humanist Association
31. National Secular Society
32. B’nai B’rith International
33. International Foundation for Population and Development
34. North London Humanist Group
35. Endeavour Forum Inc.
36. Association Suisse des Libres Penseurs
37. Humanist Academy of Scotland
38. Media Institute of Southern Africa (Regional Secretariat and its
chapters in 11 SADC countries)
39. American Humanist Association
40. Darfur Peace And Development Centre
41. American Atheists
42. Media Institute (Kenya)
43. Union of Freethinkers
44. Maharat Foundation (Lebanon)
45. Open Doors USA
46. Norwegian PEN
47. One Law for All Campaign
48. Organisation against Women’s Discrimination (Iran)
49. The Dia Humanism Institute
50. Women’s international Zionist Organization (WIZO)
51. Canadian Humanist Publications
52. Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS-Azerbaijan)
53. Indian Humanist Union
54. The Tandem Project
55. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
56. International Committee to Protect Freethinkers
57. Center for Security Policy
58. World Citizens Foundation
59. South Sudan Movement in Diaspora
60. International PEN Writers in Prison Committee
61. Atheist Foundation of Australia
62. Minority Rights Group (Greece)
63. Nigerian Humanist Movement
64. National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
65. Social Development Foundation (India)
66. Swedish Humanist Association
67. Rationalist Forum of Hyderabad (India)
68. Manava Vikasa Vedika (India)
69. European Union of Jewish Students
70. Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (India)
71. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist
72. North East Humanists
73. Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (ABRAJI)
74. Center for Human Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES-Nepal)
75. New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists
76. Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina (CADAL)
77. International Council of Jewish Women
78. Humanist Canada
79. NGO Forum (Mauritius)
80. European Humanist Federation
81. Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM-Serbia)
82. Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations
83. Burgerbewegung Pax Europa
84. Media Watch (Bangladesh)
85. Finnish Humanist Union
86. Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya
87. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI-Egypt)
88. American Jewish Congress
89. Atheist Centre Andhra Pradesh (India)
90. Spurthi Dalit Humanist organisation (India)
91. German Forum for Human Rights
92. Jihad Watch
93. Rationalist Association of NSW
94. Adhra Pradesh Rationalist Association (India)
95. Satya Shodhak Sabha, Gujerat (India)
96. Arab Archives Institute (AAI-Jordan)
97. Open Doors International
98. Council of Australian Humanist Societies
99. Jubilee Campaign USA
100. Simon Wiesenthal Centre
101. Humanist Society of Queensland
102. Algerian Centre for the Defence and Promotion of Press Freedom (CALP)
103. Atheist Alliance International
104. CWA, Switzerland
105. Rationalist Society of Australia
106. Media Rights Agenda (MRA-Nigeria)
107. Humanist Society of New Zealand
108. Consultative Council of Jewish Organisations
109. Center for Inquiry, Low Countries
110. Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers
111. World Union of Jewish Students
112. Humanist Association of Northern Ireland
113. Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS-Venezuela)
114. Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson Institute
115. Humanist Association of Ottawa
116. Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP-Liberia)
117. Liberté de Conscience
118. Syria Reform Party
119. The Free Press Society (Denmark)
120. International Free Press Society
121. Muslims Against Sharia
122. Centre for the Study of Social Change (India)
123. Danish Atheist Society
124. Mouvement Pour la Paix et Contre le Terrorisme
125. Minnesota Atheists
126. Free Media Movement (FMM-Sri Lanka)
127. Cultural Bridges
128. American Ethical Union
129. Hotline Human Rights (Bangladesh)
130. Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association
131. Women’s Missionary Society AME Church
132. Unie Vrijzinniger Vereningingen (Belgium)
133. Humanistisch Verbond
134. Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands
135. Montagnard Foundation, Inc.
136. Humanist Association of Ireland
137. United American Committee
138. Humanistiche Vrijzinnige Vereniging (Belgium)
139. Quadlibet Strategic Ventures NFP
140. Netradana Protsahaka Sangam (India)
141. Human Rights Service (Norway)
142. Pink Triangle Trust
143. Gujerat Mumbai Rationalist Association
144. Southern California Ecumenical Council
145. Viveka Vidyalayam (India)
146. International Christian Concern
147. The International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA)
148. International Multiracial Shared Cultural Organization
149. Disha Dalit Humanist organization (India)
150. European Union of Public Relations
151. Socio-political Analysis and Research Organization (India)
152. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
153. Jana Vignana Vedika (India)
154. Society of Catholic Social Scientists
155. Society for Humanism and Social Change (India)
156. Evangelical Alliance UK
157. Indian Radical Humanist Association
158. Fondation Genereuse Developpement (FGD-Cameroon)
159. Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association
160. Center for Inquiry International
161. Swedish Youth Humanist Association
162. Religious Freedom Coalition
163. Act for America
164. Belfast Humanist Group
165. Council of ex-Muslims of Britain
166. Unione degli Atei e degli Agnostici Razionalisti (Italy)
167. Secular Student Alliance
168. Summit Ministries
169. Doha Centre for Media Freedom (Qatar)
170. Fire Rescue Development Program
171. Sydney Atheists
172. Adil Soz, International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech
173. European Network Church on the Move
174. Traditional Values Coalition
175. Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
176. Humanist Society of Queensland
177. Jewish Human Rights Coalition (UK)
178. Redeem the Vote
179. Pray in Jesus Name Project
180. Humanist Society of Victoria
181. Index on Censorship
182. Unity Coalition for Israel
183. Sociedad Humanista-etica, Deodoro Roca (Argentina)
184. Secular Party of Australia
185. India Committee of the Netherlands
186. Humanistische Alliatie (Netherlands)