We are happy to report that the United Nations Human Rights Committee adopted several recommendations by the European Center for Law & Justice (ECLJ) in its General Comment No. 34, which is the official interpretation of how countries should respect freedom of expression.
The ECLJ’s recommendations can be found here.
The ECLJ recommended, and the Human Rights Committee accepted, that no right exists to protect the reputation of an ideology, rather human rights belong to individuals. The Commitee also adopted the ECLJ’s recommendation to prohibit countries from relying on religious law to restrict religious expression. The Comment states:
“Since any restriction on freedom of expression constitutes a serious curtailment of human rights, it is not compatible with the Covenant for a restriction to be enshrined in traditional, religious or other such customary law.”
By including religious laws in this provision, the Committee made clear that international law prohibits countries from relying on religious law, such as Shari’a law (Islamic law), to impose restrictions on expression.
As we have repeatedly reported, Islamic governments often invoke Shari’a law to justify brutal blasphemy and apostasy laws that restrict religious expression. But, at the recommendation of the ECLJ, this Comment adopted that, with limited exception, “[p]rohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with the Covenant.” “Nor would it be permissible for such prohibitions to be used to prevent or punish criticism of religious leaders or commentary on religious doctrine and tenets of faith.”
The Comment also adopted that all laws restricting freedom of expression must not discriminate against or favor one religion (e.g., blasphemy laws based on Shari’a law that penalize only those expressions against Allah). Finally, rejecting the common punishments imposed by Islamic governments for blasphemy or apostasy—such as death or life imprisonment—the Comment requires that any penalty for expression be both necessary and proportional.
The full text of General Comment No. 34 can be found here.
The ACLJ and the ECLJ have consistently fought to defeat the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its attempts to restrict religious expression through defamation of religion laws. While we recognize there is always more that can be done to preserve religious expression, we celebrate in this victory in the war against Islamic principles that torture those who offend Islam.
The United Nations (U.N.) is once again accusing Israel of war crimes because Israel lawfully acted in self-defense in response to ongoing indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas. On June 22, 2015, the U.N.’s Independent Commission of Inquiry (“the Commission”) submitted its report to the United...
Man’s justice is not perfect, not even that of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that describes itself as “the conscience of Europe”. In a striking turn of events, it appears that the Court made a manifest legal error in the well known Lambert judgment ( Lambert and others v. France ,
Imagine this dramatic scenario: the White House pushes for the United States to abandon its historic role as protector of the Internet, transferring the last vestige of that authority over to a private organization populated by international tech gurus. But the gurus also hold seven smartcards that...
On April 1, 2015, the Palestinian Authority – along with its terrorist “Unity Government” partner Hamas – officially became a member “state” of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is problematic for a number of reasons. First, since the Palestinian Authority (PA), known as “Palestine” by...