“Defamation of religions” at the United Nations

As Canada’s National Post reports, they’re still at it:

Islamic countries Monday won United Nations backing for an anti-blasphemy measure Canada and other Western critics say risks being used to limit freedom of speech.

Combating Defamation of Religions passed 85 –50 with 42 abstentions in a key UN General Assembly committee, and will enter into the international record after an expected rubber stamp by the plenary later in the year.

This isn’t the first time around for these resolutions, which, as the Ottawa Citizen explains, tend to be backed by many of the world’s most intolerant states. Eugene Volokh discussed the resolutions earlier this year in this and this post, citing last year’s General Assembly vote as “95-52, with nearly all the developed countries voted against.” It doesn’t look as if proponents are increasing their strength.

Say what you will about the major Religious Right groups in the U.S., they’ve mostly come down strongly on the right side of this particular issue. The National Post account quotes Bennett Graham, international program director with the religious-litigation strike force Becket Fund, as saying of the resolution, “It provides international cover for domestic anti-blasphemy laws, and there are a number of people who are in prison today because they have been accused of committing blasphemy.”

About Walter Olson

Fellow at a think tank in the Northeast specializing in law. Websites include overlawyered.com. Former columnist for Reason and Times Online (U.K.), contributor to National Review, etc.
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