Ambassador Munir Akram Permanent Representative of Pakistan, Coordinator of the OIC Working Group on Human Rights in Geneva, on behalf of the OIC, at the 56th Session of the Commission on Human Rights, Introducing Draft Resolution “Defamation of Religions”
Geneva, 26 April 2000
I have the honour to introduce, on behalf of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Conference, the draft resolution on the “Defamation of Religions” as contained in document E/CN.4/2000/L-6.
- The Draft resolution seeks to address a central of the OIC- the defamation of religions, especially Islam.
- Although, Islam gave the world the first charter of human rights, it is unfortunate that in certain parts of the world Islam is being depicted as being inimical to human rights norms. Some have sought to portray Islam as an ideological opponent and indeed even as threat to international stability.
- The conjuring of the phrase “Islamic terrorism” is a prime illustration of this phenomenon. In the course of the five weeks of this session of the Commission, we have heard this kind of defamation of Islam, not only from some NGO’s but even some delegation. Through the conjuncture of two words, “Islamic terrorism”, Islam is sought to be associated with the most cowardly form of violence i.e. terrorism against innocent people. Acts of terrorist violence are completely inimical to the principles and practices of Islam. Islam is derived from the Arabic word “salamah” – peace. It is a religion of peace. The purpose of such a false depiction is often to justify the repression against the Muslim peoples.
- Apart from the epithets, malicious efforts are also made to depict feudal and tribal phenomenon, which have no sanction from Islam, such as the so called honour killings, female genitals mutilations as being associated with Islam.
- We deeply deplore and resent such campaign of slander and defamation against Islam. Such defamation against our faith intensifies the popular resentment among our peoples against the perpetrators.
- The Commission agreed last year that the concept of defamation should be broadened to include the defamation of all religions. It also expressed concern the Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.
- The draft resolution submitted by the OIC this year in L.6 seeks to take the process of promoting “harmony, understanding and tolerance towards all religions further forward. We believe that since tolerance is one of the themes of the “World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance”, the question of defamation of religions should also be examined by the Conference. We are convinced that religious perspectives on combating racism would help provide an additional dimension to the discussions in the World Conference. It has, therefore, been agreed in the consultations leading to the present text that governments, intergovernmental and regional organizations should help provide inputs to the World Conference against Racism. This would enrich the deliberations and outcome of the World Conference.
- We are pleased to inform the Commission that following extensive negotiations, the co-sponsors have been able to arrive at a consensus on our amended version of draft resolution No E/CN.4/20000-L-16. It goes without saying that following this agreement, the OIC delegations will not introduce the sub-amendments in document L.96 of course, on the understanding that the EU amendments to the draft resolutions L-18 also will be withdrawn.
- The amendments to L.6, as agreed, have been circulated to the Commission, I will read them out for the benefit of all present:
- PP 3- Delete in line 1 “and xenophobia”.
- Add New PP 3 bis- “Recognizing that discrimination based on religion or belief constitute an offense to human dignity and a violation of human rights”.
- PP 4- Delete in line 3 “xenophobia”.
- OP 4- Delete in line 3 “xenophobia”.
- Replace OP 5 with “Invites governments, inter-governmental and regional organizations to provide their views on the religious perspectives of combating racism to the Secretary General of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and invites her to present these inputs to the World Conference on Racism through its preparatory process.”
- OP 6-
- in line 1 add “and” after “the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance”.
- Delete in line 2 and 3 “and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination”.
- Delete in line 4 “at its fifty seventh session”
v. Replace OP 7 with ” Remains seized of the matter”.
May I add that this is the first time that the Commission has used Security Council language for keeping an issue under consideration.
- The OIC believes that as long as there is cause for concern about the defamation of religious, especially Islam, which has a direct negative impact on human rights of billions of people, we must retain the right to arouse the attention of the world and promote appropriate action through this Commission.
- I would like to think all delegations involved in the negotiations on the draft. We present this draft resolution as amended to the Commission for its approval by consensus.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.