Recognizing the valuable contribution

Eric provides the text of Resolution 16/18. I don’t find it all that reassuring.

Recognizing the valuable contribution of people of all religions or beliefs to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind,

The valuable contribution of people of all beliefs? That’s just gibberish. The contribution of people of some beliefs – and not rare ones – is the opposite of valuable. Lots of people have beliefs that women are both inferior and evil-rebellious, and thus have to be ferociously controlled and even more ferociously punished if they ever evade that control. That’s not valuable.

Ok it’s just a bit of boilerplate and they have to say crap like that…but that’s the point, isn’t it. Erecting special protections for religion and religion alone involves saying all religious beliefs are valuable, and that’s why it’s a bad idea to erect special protections for religion and religion alone.

Expresses deep concern at the continued serious instances of derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of persons based on their religion or belief, as well as programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at creating and perpetuating negative stereotypes about religious groups, in particular when condoned by Governments;

Well that depends on what they mean by “stereotyping,” doesn’t it. It’s all too easy (and common) to call any kind of criticism “stereotyping.”

Notes the speech given by Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference at the fifteenth session of the Human Rights Council, and draws on his call on States to take the following actions to foster a domestic environment of religious tolerance, peace and respect

The world doesn’t need lessons from the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on how to be more tolerant and peaceful. The Organization of the Islamic Conference is not a liberal or rights-respecting organization. The OIC considers human rights to be subject to sharia.

CFI issued a statement on December 27 applauding the agreement as an improvement on previous versions, but also expressing concern:

While CFI denounces the advocacy and incitement of violence, discrimination, hatred, and hostility, we remain concerned that the resolution’s broad language could allow room for laws that persecute religious dissidents, religious minorities, and nonbelievers. The resolution can be interpreted expansively to provide citizens with a “right” to not be insulted in their religious feelings, and a “right” to respect for their religious beliefs. These supposed rights have no grounding in international human rights law, nor do they align with the concept of an open, secular society. International law guarantees freedom of religious exercise, not freedom from insult. It guarantees nondiscrimination for individual believers, not respect for belief systems. The UN should work to protect individual religious believers from discrimination, but it should do so without leaving room for laws that shield religious belief systems from criticism and threaten the rights of religious dissidents, religious minorities, and nonbelievers to express opinions that are unpopular with the majority.



  1. stonyground says

    It appears to me that, unable to answer the arguments of the Gnu Atheists, Christians are forging an unholy alliance with groups like the OIC to shut them up.

  2. says

    It is worth pointing out, as Lelie Cannold does, that religious authorities of most persuasions demand rights and privileges for themselves when they are out of power that they are most reluctant to concede to others when in power. By that I mean possession of decisive, authoritarian and controlling power, not just office.

    Another difficulty they all have is that there is no religion which says ‘it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe some doctrine or other’. They all claim to have the One True Path. This makes the rest of humanity either hopeless erroneous sinners, or damned to the fires of Hell for eternity, and thus not worthy of respect.

    None of them can have it both ways.

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