Monday, April 22, 2024

Quran burning: The Gambia, others vote to approve a UNHRC resolution on religious hatred and bigotry 

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Following the burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden that led to protests across the Muslim world, The Gambia and many other members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Wednesday July 12th voted in favour of a UNHRC resolution on religious hatred and bigotry.

The resolution seeks to urge countries to take steps to “prevent and prosecute acts and advocacy of religious hatred that constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence”.

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Last month, outside a mosque in Stockholm, a man said to be an Iraqi immigrant desecrated the holy Quran on Eid al-Adha, an important holiday in the Muslim calendar. The action prompted an urgent debate at the UNHRC, the world’s top rights body on Tuesday.

According to Aljazeera, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the act of burning the Quran is an “incitement to religious hatred, discrimination and attempts to provoke violence.”

Many other world leaders have expressed similar dissatisfactions over the incidents and the seeming silence of some world powers in condemning the action.

“Stop abusing freedom of expression. Silence means complicity,”” said Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

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UN human rights chief Volker Turk told the UNHRC that inflammatory acts against Muslims, as well as other religions or minorities, are “offensive, irresponsible and wrong”.

Sweden has condemned the Quran burning but maintains the country has a constitutionally-protected right to freedom of assembly, expression and demonstration.

On Tuesday, France’s ambassador Jerome Bonnafont noted that human rights “protect people – not religions, doctrines, beliefs or their symbols … It is neither for the United Nations nor for states to define what is sacred”.

United States and the European Union voted against the resolution, saying it conflicts with their positions on human rights and freedom of expression.

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Though UNHRC resolutions are not legally binding but are seen as strong political commitments by states.

The following are the nations that voted for the resolution: Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, India, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Ukraine, UAE, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Those that voted against the resolution are: Belgium, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Romania, United Kingdom, and the United States.

However, Benin, Chile, Georgia, Honduras, Mexico, Nepal, and Paraguay abstained from voting.





























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