GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights chief on Tuesday used a special debate over Koran burnings in Sweden and other European countries to tread the fine line between freedom of thought and respect for religious beliefs, expanding his call for respect to include “everyone else,” including refugees, LGBTQ people, and others. + People, and women and women including veiled women.
Volker Turk, speaking to the Human Rights Council, took hate and discrimination as “manufactured” intolerance to the rise of fanatical violence aimed at creating differences between civilizations. The recent Koran burnings have had a major impact, and have even weighed on Sweden’s comments on Turkey’s entry into NATO.
This debate was framed during the council’s winter session along the lines of Western countries that condemn this type of intolerance but affirm the right to freedom of expression, mostly Muslim countries that want the governments of Muslim countries to strengthen their legal arsenal to express religious intolerance. And hatred that can lead to violence, discrimination or hatred.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, said in a video statement, “We would like to remind you that freedom of expression is a moral value that leads to peaceful coexistence rather than civil conflict.” “We need to spread the values of tolerance.”
Turkey has condemned the burning of the Koran in Europe as “an event that appears to have been created to express disdain and inflame anger, to create division between people and to incite differences of opinion into hatred and possibly violence.”
The Prime Minister said that people should show respect for “everyone else” regardless of law or government issues and stressed that “incitement of hatred that incites violence, discrimination and enmity should be prohibited in all regions”.
Turkey has warned that hate speech of all kinds is on the rise – although it is not always intended to provoke violence.
“Dehumanizing women and denying their equality with men, insulting Muslim women and girls wearing hijabs, denigrating people with disabilities, making false claims that immigrants or people of a different ethnic group are more likely to engage in crime, or stigmatizing LGBTQ+ people – all such hate speech that some people It originates from the basic idea that they do not deserve respect as human beings,” he said.
Pakistan and Palestine pushed for a council resolution that, among other things, called on countries to act to “prevent and prosecute acts that incite discrimination, enmity or violence, and religious hatred.”
The United States has said it does not support the resolution, fearing it could trample on fundamental freedoms of expression.
Rashad Hussain, Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, said: “We know from experience that trying to ban this kind of expression often draws more attention to it, furthering it and often serving as a catalyst for further hatred.” Expressing American opposition to so-called “blasphemy” laws.
“Such laws fail to address the root causes of bigotry,” he said, calling instead for efforts to “strengthen education and interfaith dialogue to counter hate speech.”
A vote was expected to take place on Wednesday morning.