For immediate release
Wednesday, 3rd November 2010
A UN RESOLUTION DEFAMATION OF RELIGIONS RESOLUTION
YES VOTE IN LATE NOVEMBER 2010 WILL HAVE SERIOUS
WORLDWIDE RELIGIOUS RAMICATIONS
AUSTRALIA STILL TO DECLARE HOW IT WILL VOTE
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd are yet to inform Australians
how a vote will be cast in a vital United Nations (UN) resolution, even though most western countries
have clearly announced their intentions to vote no, said Mr Nigel Rooke, CEO Open Doors
We have written to our leaders informing them of our views with no response, he said.
The Defamation of Religions Resolution, originally Defamation of Islam and first introduced to the
Human Rights Commission in 1999, seeks to criminalise words or actions that are deemed to be against a
particular religion, namely Islam. Although proponents justify the Defamation of Religions concept as
protecting religious practice and promoting tolerance it really in effect promotes intolerance and violates the
freedom of religion, freedom of speech and expression for religious minorities especially Christians in
many Islamic countries.
The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), an inter-governmental organisation of 57 countries with
majority or significant Muslim populations, has been the driving force behind the resolution to the UN in its
various forms since 1999.
The OIC has brought the resolution forward again this year and in its current form has been passed in March
by the United Nations Human Rights subcommittee. The OIC is expected to bring the Defamation of
Religions Resolution to the UN General Assembly once again this November. Many Christians living in
these mostly Islamic countries are already severely impacted by restrictive laws especially those living
under strict Sharia law, from the right to worship freely, to the ability to express their faith without fear of
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says - everyone has the right to freedom of thought,
conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either
alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching,
practice, worship and observance.
There are existing Apostasy and Blasphemy laws currently in place contrary to Article 18 around the world.
With the potential to validate the existing blasphemy laws in countries like Pakistan, the Defamation of
Religions Resolution threatens to justify local laws that already marginalise Christians. The Defamation of
Religions Resolution has the potential to give a cloak of international respectability to persecution, stated
The major concern with this resolution is that it puts the rights of an ideal or religion above the rights of an
individual. Once resolutions are set in place that protect groups of peoples or religions the rights of
individuals - especially those belonging to minority groups, are at risk of increased persecution, Mr Rooke
*In previous votes at the UN, Australia has voted no.
Media Liaison: Darryn Keneally 0410 344 761,
Web Address: www.opendoors.org.au