As UN meets, apply pressure against blasphemy laws

Christian Science Monitor: Blasphemy and other religious-defamation laws in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and even Russia put people behind bars and on death row. As the UN General Assembly begins, these countries must be put under intense pressure to conform to global human rights standards.

By Robert P. George, Op-ed contributor / September 20, 2013

Salman Taseer, right, Governor of Pakistani Punjab Province, listens to Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, left, at a prison near Lahore, Nov. 20, 2010. Taseer was shot dead Jan. 4, 2011, apparently because he had spoken out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Op-ed contributor Robert P. George writes: ‘By maintaining and enforcing [blasphemy] laws’ countries like Pakistan ‘not only violate international human rights law, they flatly reject UN resolutions.’

AP/File

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WASHINGTON

As the UN General Assembly begins its new session, a colossal gulf is again visible – a gulf between what international human rights law and UN resolutions say, and what some member nations do. A concrete effort must be made by the international community to close this gulf.

  • One glaring example is how some countries treat people who dare to express dissenting views about religion. A number of nations uphold and enforce laws that punish their own citizens for religious dissent or what they view as deviance from sacred norms. Under such laws and practices, dissidents may find their views labeled as blasphemous, defamatory, or insulting to religious symbols, figures, or feelings. If they are tried and convicted, some face draconian punishments, including execution.

3 replies

  1. Discussing blasphemy is being consider as blasphemy in Pakistan. How come??
    The violators of International Human rights are openly violating them in Pakistan. Something should be done about this terrorism before there is more damage. It appears that these are the breeding grounds for international terrorism.

  2. Do not expect too much from the UN. I am reminded by the fact that the Ahmadiyya ‘state-sponsored persecution’ was discussed in the Human Rights Sub-Commission and when it came to the main commission discussion of it was blocked by moves ‘behind the scenes’ by the USA, who did not want to ’embarrass Pakistan’ at the time… (1985). See among other links: http://www.humanlaw.org/archives.html

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