Right to Believe
DEFAMATION OF RELIGIONS AT THE UNITED NATIONS: a threat to religious liberty
This year in 2010 the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), linking 57 countries with majority or significant Muslim populations, once again introduced a Defamation of Religions Resolution in the United Nations.
If the Resolution became the basis for law, it would allow governments the power to determine which religious views can and can't be expressed in their country, and the right to punish those who express 'unacceptable' religious views as they see fit. So, in effect, it would makes persecution legal.
It aims to criminalise words or actions deemed to be against a particular religion, especially Islam. It has the effect of providing international legitimacy for national laws that punish blasphemy or otherwise ban criticism of a religion. It was voted on in the UN General Assembly on 21 December.
Many countries have backed this Resolution in the past, but this year some changed their minds. Although the Resolution was not defeated, it passed with the narrowest margin to date - just 9 votes. Thousands of people from the UK and Ireland and across the world helped to acieve this by their prayers and their signatures on the Open Doors' Right to Believe petition.
- Open Doors
The 'Defamation of Religions' Resolution has been voted on by the United Nations General Assembly
The UN General Assembly in New York voted on the Defamation of Religions Resolution on 21 December. It was passed with 76 votes in favour, 67 countries voting against and 40 abstaining. In all the years of voting on this issue this is the narrowest margin to date! The trend of declining support is clearly accelerating. The gap between the YES and NO vote narrowed significantly, and the total number of NO votes, plus the abstentions, far outweighed the YES vote. We believe that every signature on the petition has played a small but significant part in this.
Further details can be found at http://www.opendoorsuk.org/campaign/RTB.php
The Defamation of Religions Resolution is not about to become law. Support for the concept is decreasing. And in 2011 the petition signatures will still be a powerful weapon as the discussions continue. Open Doors will be working to build on all that has been achieved with the support of so many around the world.
When a Christian woman such as Asia Bibi can be sentenced to death over a charge of blasphemy in Pakistan, it is vital that the United Nations should be looking for ways of further protecting the rights of all people of faith.
Open Doors will continue to campaign for the Right to Believe. In 2011 we will highlight the widespread level of concern indicated by 428,856 signatures on the global Right to Believe petition. We will continue to pray, to prompt, to campaign privately and publicly. We will do all we can to ensure that our brothers and sisters who currently face persecution for the sake of Christ will one day have the Right to Believe, in freedom and without fear.
Thank you for all you have done in campaigning action and prayer in support of persecuted Christians in 2010.
Wishing you a Christmas full of the joy and peace of Jesus Christ.
Open Doors UK and Ireland
- Aasia Bibi
- Pakistani Christians to protest on Christmas Day to repeal blasphemy law
- Asia Bibi 'can be killed at any time' says Pakistani priest
- Tense Christmas Weekend Ahead in Pakistan
- Islamic Extremists Protest Efforts to Change Blasphemy Laws and Free Christian