UN’s Islam supporting resolution losing votes

April 19, 2010 04:39

The resolutions, although non-binding, are designed to shield Islam from criticism, with the effect of undermining freedom of expression and jeopardizing the rights of religious minorities and of Muslims wishing to convert to other faiths.

From CNSNews.com

As its annual “defamation of religion” resolution loses ground at the United Nations after a decade of successes, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is urging its members to close ranks on an issue, which it calls vital for the defense of Islam.

Foreign ministers from the 56 mostly Muslim-majority countries that make up the OIC plan to discuss the issue when they hold their 2010 session in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe next month.

In the Saudi city of Jeddah this week, the Islamic bloc’s powerful secretary-general, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, told senior officials preparing for the Dushanbe meeting that he hoped OIC member states would “lend particular attention” to the religious defamation issue.

He voiced dismay about the declining support for the resolutions, and the fact that some countries, which he did not identify, were “thinking of reconsidering the subject.”

“I wish to affirm that the member states’ commitment to support the OIC’s stand vis-a-vis this vote is of vital weight and should not be downplayed,” Ihsanoglu said. “For any laxity in this connection would mean the loss of a political and legal mainstay in the defense of our faith, our values and our sanctities.”

Ihsanoglu’s comments came after the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva late last month once again passed the OIC-drafted resolution on “combating defamation of religions,” but by a relatively slim margin.

Only 20 members of the 47-nation HRC voted in favor, while 17 opposed the measure and eight abstained. (Two were absent.)

It was the worst showing for the annual resolution since the OIC first introduced it at the HRC’s predecessor, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, in 1999.

Apart from the first two years, when the measure was adopted without a vote, the resolution has always passed easily, in a vote that showed a clear split between the Islamic bloc and its allies in the developing world on one hand, and mostly Western democracies on the other (see graph showing annual vote results since 2001).

Since the HRC began operating in 2006, its composition has also been a factor – more than half the 47 seats are reserved for African and Asian nations, and OIC members have held around one-third of the total. Supported by perennial allies like China, Russia, Cuba and South Africa, the OIC has therefore had no difficulty getting the measures passed.

A religious defamation resolution has also been adopted by the full membership of the world body, the U.N. General Assembly in New York, each year since 2005.


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