What a lucky day. By chance i found something that obviously escaped my notice before and which i haven't found much reported in the media either.

Already last month the UN issued a statement concerning the freedom of speech in relation with the human rights convention.

 

Here is the good part (emphasis mine):

 

 

48.  Prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief

system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with the Covenant,

except in the specific circumstances envisaged in article 20, paragraph 2, of

the Covenant. Such prohibitions must  also  comply with the strict

requirements of article 19, paragraph 3, as well as such articles as 2, 5, 17,

18 and 26. Thus, for instance, it would be impermissible for any such laws

to discriminate in favour of or against one or certain religions or belief

systems, or their adherents over another, or religious believers over nonbelievers. 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
.

 

 

Of course there is the exception of article 20 which states permits prohibition of "advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence". But it becomes quite difficult to justify the current laws by this exception.

Especially the other comments in the (complete) document above concerning the principle proportionality, the prohibition of laws discriminating certain groups (or favoring them) deal a huge blow to quite a lot of nations on this planet, including some European ones.

 

Will this change anything in countries like Pakistan? I doubt it. But at least it is clear now even for the greatest apologist, that blasphemy laws are against the human rights convention.

 

Will this change anything in countries like Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, and San Marino (countries with blasphemy laws) or to countries like Andorra, Cyprus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine (countries with "religious insult" being an offense punishable by law) ?

 

I think it WILL change some of those laws. And it is about time !

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Tags: blasphemy, freedom, of, speech

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