UN: Defamation of Religion

House of Lords written question – answered on 7th October 2008.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Spokesperson in the Lords (Discrimination Law Refrom), Women and Equality

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their stance on the resolutions on defamation of religion proposed by members of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa, Asia and the UN)

The UK has consistently voted against resolutions on defamation of religion in the UN Human Rights Council. Under international human rights law it is individuals (and not religions) who have rights, beliefs or philosophies. The UK is concerned that the concept of defamation of religion can be used to undermine human rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of information and freedom of religion itself. We strongly believe that freedom of expression and freedom of religion go hand in hand and that both rights are complementary and necessary in a democratic society.

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