OIC hails UN adoption of resolution on religious hatred

By Ashary S. Tamano, WebMaster
First appeared in Arab News on July 13, 2023

JEDDAH: The OIC has hailed the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council of a resolution to strengthen collective efforts to reject desecration of holy books and religious intolerance.

The resolution, “Countering religious hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,” was adopted at the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council following a request by the OIC group of countries in Geneva. This was in response to a series of provocative acts of desecration of copies of the Holy Qur’an in a number of European and other countries.

The resolution condemns recent public and premeditated acts of desecration of the Holy Qur’an, and underscores the need for holding the perpetrators of acts of religious hatred to account in line with obligations of states arising from international human rights law.

It also urges the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and all relevant special parties to speak out against advocacy of religious hatred.

It requests that the council identify drivers and manifestations of religious hatred and outline gaps in laws, policies, practices and law enforcement that impede the prevention and persecution of public and premeditated acts, and that it propose measures aimed at countering acts of religious hatred that hinder the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, also welcomed the decision, saying it reaffirmed the responsibility of all parties to publicly denounce advocacy of religious hatred, including the desecration of sacred books, and to explore avenues for prosecution.

Aboul Gheit called on all countries to adopt the decision and work to confront the escalation of waves of hatred between peoples and followers of different religions, by reviewing some of their laws and policies that do not address religious hatred with due firmness, work to prosecute the perpetrators of hate crimes and incitement, and take immediate steps to fill the legal loopholes.

The Speaker of the Arab Parliament, Adel Al-Assoumi, said the resolution was considered a diplomatic victory for Islamic countries in light “of the extremist and disgraceful practices carried out by some extremists in a number of European countries against the sanctities of the true Islamic religion.”

Al-Assoumi affirmed the Arab Parliament’s permanent firm stance toward promoting tolerance and mutual understanding between different cultures and religions, and respecting freedom of religious belief as one of the most important foundations of human rights on which peaceful coexistence is based.

He called for the collective action of parliamentarians, politicians and clerics in order to confront hate speech and extremism, reject all its forms, and spread the values ​​of tolerance and coexistence.