October 8, 2010: Over the past decade there have been several efforts before the UN to pass resolutions against “Defamation of Religion.” Some of these resolutions, which have been viewed as an attempt to limit the spread of the Gospel, provide support for blasphemy and similar laws, such as the ones which have been used to brutally suppress religious minorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Iran and elsewhere.
On Thursday, September 30, 2010, Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF), together with several other Christian groups, submitted a Consultation Paper to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urging it not to reinterpret language in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in a way that could turn Christian speech into “hate speech.” Advocates International, the Alliance Defense Fund, CLF, Jubilee Campaign, and World Evangelical Alliance were all signatories to the paper.
Articles 19 and 20 of the ICCPR call for governments across the world to protect against “incitement.” Our joint paper paper, submitted at the invitation of the OHCHR, expresses concern that language used to describe the goals of the review process differs from actual language in the ICCPR and sets up a potential clash between “hate speech” and freedom of speech.
The paper urges the human rights body to protect religious expression, interpret “incitement” to allow religious minorities the freedom to speak unless the speech results in actual, imminent harm, and reject the call for vague “hate speech” codes that penalize speech that merely makes the listener uncomfortable. Ultimately, the paper calls for the protection of religious minorities from the dangers of a global blasphemy law.
CLF has special consultative status with the United Nations which allows it to participate in convention meetings and make submissions affirming religious freedom and related issues.
Please continue to pray for this critical issue affecting religious freedom globally.
For more information, contact:
CHRISTIAN LEGAL FELLOWSHIP
Alliance des chrétiens en droit
Phone: (519) 641-8850 Fax: (519) 641-8866