The New and Improved Iron Curtain:
UN Declares: Islamic Shari'a Taboo in Council Debates
UN Watch Briefing: News and Analysis from UN Watch in Geneva Vol. 176 July 8, 2008
Geneva -- From now on, all references to human rights violations related to Islamic Shar’ia law are prohibited in the chamber of the UN Human Rights Council. So ruled council president Doru Costea after a dramatic debate in the recently concluded June session.
It all started when veteran rights activist David Littman -- undaunted by the repressive regimes who only last month sought to expel him from the UN -- tried to deliver a speech on violence against women and what Islamic scholars can do to prevent it.
Egypt's Amr Roshdy Hassan repeatedly interrupted, aggressively challenging the council president: “Regardless of the result of the vote — I couldn’t care less if I will win or lose this vote — my point is that Islam will not be crucified in this council!”The president ultimately gave in, declaring: “Statements should refrain from making judgments or evaluations of a particular religion. . . I can promise that at the next evaluation of a religious creed, law, or document, I will interrupt the speaker and we’ll go on to the next one.”
The new ruling follows an Islamic-sponsored text adopted by the council in March that turned its mandate on freedom of expression upside down. Instead of investigating the actions of governments in order to protect individual freedom, the expert is now charged with investigating individuals -- those who "abuse" their freedom of speech through religious or racial discrimination, i.e., by saying anything deemed offensive to Islamic sensibilities. Everyone in the world is now potentially subject to the UN's new speech control.
What does all of this signify?
An iron curtain has descended across the world's highest human rights body. Behind that line lie all the human rights violations committed in the name of a certain religion, about which no one dare speak: suicide terror attacks, honor killings, female genital mutilation, forced child marriage, violence against gays, stonings, state censorship of free speech, jailing of bloggers, prohibitions against freedom of religion, and much, much more.
UN officials, diplomats and even major human rights figures have been afraid to take on this new regime, which now exercises an almost total control over the Human Rights Council, as well as increasing measures of influence over other forums of world opinion.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil," said Edmund Burke, "is that good men do nothing." Would that more people showed the courage of Mr. Littman.
Click here for full transcript of UN debate
Here is commentary by Ibn-Warraq, on The Iconoclast:
By contrast, the Islamic countries in recent months, nay recent weeks, have tried to, and succeeded in, stifling criticisms of Islam at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. Human Rights begin with freedom of thought, and expression; democracy depends on it. Sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, a noble document whose articles18 and 19 guarantee freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom of opinion and expression, Islamic countries on 28 March, 2008 managed to kill it.
The 57 Islamic States with support from China, Russia and Cuba succeeded in forcing through an amendment to a resolution on Freedom of Expression. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression will now be required to report on the “abuse” of this freedom. Theo van Gogh, the Danish cartoonists, Geert Wilders and anyone criticising Islam, or the Sharia will now be deemed to have 'abused' the freedom of expression. In other words, instead of protecting freedom of expression, the amendment will now be limiting freedom of expression.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The New and Improved Iron Curtain: