Download Defamation of Religion Position Papers PDF

TitleDefamation of Religion Position Papers
TagsHuman Rights Freedom Of Speech Defamation Blasphemy Freedom Of Religion
File Size573.2 KB
Total Pages36
Document Text Contents
Page 19

Hong Kong Model United Nations 2013 GA SOCHUM



Recognizing the ongoing anatomization and violation of human rights
caused by religious intolerance, the State of Libya would like to address the issue
of Defamation of Religion in relation to freedom of expression and the protection
of human rights. The state has been supporting resolutions GA 62/154 and HRC
7/19 on this subject matter to protect her fellow Muslim civilians from
discrimination caused by negative stereotyping of Islam. While some countries
oppose to these resolutions persistently, claiming that anti-blasphemy laws would
eradicate the freedom of expression, Libya is deeply disturbed by the association
between Islam and causes such as terrorism and violence against women.
Granting the viewpoint that universal declaration of human rights is for the
protection of individual believers and not for religious beliefs, religious
intolerance expressed using force or coercion is unacceptable, and such
intolerance rooted from the negative stereotyping of religions.

The negative stereotypes upon Islam by some countries in the West had
significant impact on the reputation of Muslim civilians and the prejudicial ways
in which they are portrayed in the global community. Recently, the anti-Islam
videos proliferated in the United States and France aroused violence among the
Libyan civilians in reaction to blasphemy upon Islam. Dating to September 11,
2012, the Benghazi attack resulted in the tragic deaths of four individuals,
including the US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Libya firmly condemns the
violence as Ali Aujali, Libya’s ambassador to the United States, has stated during
the conference that followed the aftermath of the attack in the Islamic Society of
North America (ISNA). Ironically, the Muslim population has been facing this long-
term bigotry by the West that equated Al Qaeda and the act of terrorism with
Islamic beliefs, which Muslims were discriminated against for expressing their
faith. From this point, the reactions taking place in Libya, Pakistan, Egypt and
Tunisia all comes down to the lack of international actions to prevent religions
from being misinterpreted.

Libya recognizes the extent of religious discrimination beyond Islam, and
millions of devoted believers and the innocents are killed for their beliefs. During
the Libyan civil war, a small Christian community in the country was attacked by a
group of radical Islamists with no intervention from the previous government.
While such incidents are rare in Libya, the officials recognize this as an un-Islamic
and criminal act, and it must be solved through the reinforcement of religious

Even though religious intolerance constitutes to war, hostility and violence
in history, respect towards religion is often excluded from conventions dealing
with elimination of discrimination. The State of Libya firmly supports the
previous resolutions passed by the General Assembly and the Human Rights
Council to the extend that it advocates equality of all religions. Entering a new
political era after the removal of long-term dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, Libya
seeks to maintain her Islamic heritage using Sharia along with respect and honor
towards other religions.

Page 36

Hong Kong Model United Nations 2013 GA SOCHUM


United States of America

The inappropriate dealing with the issue of the ‘defamation’ of religion is
regarded by the United States as a pullulating threat to Universal Human Rights
Standards. These ‘blasphemy laws’ have only ever been exercised in abuse and
are only false justification to promote authoritarian institution that utterly
suppress the human right of the freedom of expression. Historically, the world has
only ever seen this being exploited as a ground basis for criminalising those
whom individuals face rivalries or disputes with. Particularly in areas of Pakistan,
where conveniently for certain opportunists with ulterior political of financial
motives, targets can be branded ‘blasphemers’ without substantial evidence and
then legally sentenced based on biased civic assumption. The United States sees
the models proposed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation as a guise of
vindicating authoritarianism through the disregard for freedom of expression,
and also legal grounds highly prone to exploitation ands misinterpretation by
both governments and individuals.

The United States of America was founded on an entirely secular and
liberal basis, granting its citizens complete freedom of expression and human
rights rightfully to its maximum extent. As of the nation’s recent history, its
legislation and constitutions exercise this universal belief in freedom and equality
for humans alike. The United States of America has rejected the resolutions
presented by the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in the
past, based on the fact that there exists an imminent, potential threat to this
ideology of human freedom that the United States and other such western liberal
democracies vanguard. In recent history, during July of 2012, when the highly
provocative anti-Islam amateur video was released,
the United States responded calmly, condemning the act of religious intolerance
by expressing national condemnation. However, other ‘victimized’ nations
resorted to violent means of expressing their disgust. This tragic precedent
proves the dire need for finalising a medium of response to situations in which
religions are ‘defamed’, as it contradicts with the basic human right of freedom of
speech which is firmly upheld by all secular and liberal societies.

The United States addresses to the concern of the United Nations the
flawed and ineffective method of dealing with cases of religious defamation
continually brought up by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The nation
continues to see the 'defamation of religions' concept used to justify censorship,
criminalisation, and in some cases violent assaults and deaths of political, racial,
and religious minorities around the world and therefore denounces all those in
favour of the above. If such behaviour is tolerated, it will be a blatant infringement
upon what the United Nations has stood for throughout all these years. As such,
the delegation of United States strongly disapproves of the passing of defamation
of religions and seeks to construct a detailed framework to avoid falling into the
trap of a series of consecutive and consequential further limiting this freedom.

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