At UN, Humanists International condemns hate on the grounds of religion or belief and calls for more work to be done to combat it

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 15 March 2024

At the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Humanists International has called for more work to be done in tackling hate and intolerance in the context of freedom of religion or belief

The statement was delivered by Humanists International’s Advocacy Officer, Leon Langdon, and focused on the reports of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ recent reports. Humanists International’s statement endorsed several of the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations in her report on “transformative responses to hate and intolerance”, including intercommunity dialogue, positive counterspeech, and education initiatives, as well as outlawing speech which amounts to incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

The statement also underscored the importance of such responses in the face of nationalism, far-right populism, religious fundamentalism and the rise in identity politics. It also mentioned the amplifying effect of social media algorithms – something which had been raised in a statement delivered at the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council in the context of Pakistan.

The statement also highlighted efforts “by actors seeking to use this Council as a vehicle to legitimize blasphemy laws.” In July last year, at the 53rd Session of the Human Rights Council, the Organization of Islamic States (OIC) pushed through a Resolution which condemned the desecration of sacred books and threatened years of UN consensus on how to tackle religious intolerance in line with international law. Humanists International delivered a statement at that time too, opposing the approach being taken by the OIC.

At this current 55th session, Humanists International also joined a statement made during a Panel on Countering Religious Hatred. The statement, delivered by Article 19, called for the reaffirmation of commitment from the international community to Resolution 16/18 and the Rabat Plan of Action, while similarly condemning hatred on the basis of religion or belief. These instruments outline the narrow conditions necessary for the criminalization of hate speech.

Featured photo by Miko Guziuk on Unsplash.

While you are here...

As a registered charity and NGO, we rely on the donations we receive from our members and supporters to help us campaign on humanist issues and lobby for humanist values at international institutions (including the United Nations). If you support our aims, please consider giving a one-off or regular gift today. Thank you.

WordPress theme developer - whois: Andy White London