UN Condemns Book Burning In Historic Resolution

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The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday adopted a non-binding resolution against Quran burnings and religious hatred. This was at the end of a debate organized in Geneva at the request of Pakistan after pages of a copy of the Koran were burned in front of a mosque in Sweden on June 28.

“This urgent debate is prompted by the recent incidents in which the Quran was burned, while it is at the heart of the faith of more than a billion people. These incidents and others seem to have been fabricated to express contempt and stir up anger, to drive wedges between people and to provoke,” said Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The text was approved by 28 of the 47 members of this council, including China, Ukraine and most African countries. Seven members abstained and twelve voted against, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Costa Rica.

“I had hoped so much, as I believe all of us, that we would speak today with one consensus voice on our commitment to end the promulgation of religious hatred. We believe we were very close. while we abhor expressions of religious hatred, we do not believe that freedom of expression can or should serve as a bridge to prohibit them. Accordingly, we regret having to vote against this unbalanced text, as it contradicts positions deep and longstanding rights on freedom of expression,” said Michele Taylor, US Ambassador to the UN.

The Pakistani ambassador, Khalil Hashmi, felt that it was a balanced text that did not point the finger at any state.

“Islamophobia is on the rise. Incidents involving the desecration of the Quran are happening again and again in some countries,” Chinese Ambassador Chen Xu said, lending his support to the resolution.

The text includes a condemnation of “any advocacy and manifestation of religious hatred, including recent acts, public and premeditated, which have desacralized the Koran” and a call on countries to adopt laws allowing them to bring to justice those responsible for these acts.

This article is originally published on fr.africanews.com

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