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The UN Human Rights Council meets in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilisations Room in the Palace of the Nations, Geneva (United Nations)

The United Nations Human Rights Council has approved a controversial resolution that urges member states to prosecute acts of religious-based antagonism more aggressively. Source: The Tablet.

The motion passed last week, despite the opposition of United States and European delegations. 

The measure, backed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and passed by a 28-12 vote, calls upon member states to “examine their national laws, policies, and law enforcement frameworks” to identify and rectify “gaps that may impede the prevention and prosecution of acts and advocacy of religious hatred”.

The document referenced the burning of pages from the Koran outside a mosque in Stockholm last month. The resolution called for the perpetrators to be “[held] to account” in accordance with “international human rights law”.

The US was joined by the UK, Germany, France and several other Western nations in opposition to the measure.

Msgr David Putzer, chargé d’affaires of the Holy See’s permanent mission to the UN in Geneva, spoke at the session to condemn attacks on religious texts and symbols as an abuse of “the precious gift of freedom of expression” which “fuel hatred, intolerance and create greater polarisation”.

Following the vote, the US envoy Michèle Taylor said that she was “heartbroken” that the council “was unable to speak with a unanimous voice today in condemning what we all agree are deplorable acts of anti-Muslim hatred, while also respecting freedom of expression”.

“We strongly believe that hatred withers in the face of public scrutiny,” Taylor said, “and that limiting freedom of expression will only force hateful ideas to find new venues in which to manifest and call undue attention to acts that we would not wish to amplify.”


‘Religious hatred’ resolution approved at UN after Quran burning (by Daniel Payne, The Tablet)