new photo blog

i started this blog in 2006, and it's shifted along with my interests through the years. it's been witness to a lot of learning for me...

still, i feel that i need a home for my photography -- so from now on, i'll be posting my pictures on the journal on my reworked website. if you like my photos, you might decide to follow me there!

my first post is here -- check it out!

as for this blog, i'm not sure what will happen. i don't think i'm willing to let it go, and certainly i'll keep it as an archive, but i need some time to figure it out.

for those of you that pop in from time to time, thanks for the visits and encouragement.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

united nations affirms the human right to blaspheme

on religion dispatches:

late last month, the UN issued a new statement on the extent of freedom of speech under international law. it says that laws restricting blasphemy as such are incompatible with universal human rights standards.

the statement came from the human rights committee, the body of eighteen “independent experts” mandated to monitor compliance with the international covenant on civil and political rights, or ICCPR, the 1966 human rights treaty that provides for freedom of opinion and expression and other fundamental rights. the committee’s general comments represent authoritative interpretations of the provisions of the ICCPR. unlike the highly-publicized resolutions produced by the human rights council and the general assembly, the provisions of the ICCPR are legally binding to its more than 165 parties.

the detailed 52-paragraph statement, general comment no. 34, is the outcome of two years of intense debate among representatives of governments and civil society organizations. the committee’s previous comment on freedom of opinion and expression, in 1983, was only four paragraphs long. in addition to taking up such matters as treason, defamation of heads of state, “memory laws” enforcing an official version of history, and the rights of bloggers, comment 34 comes down strongly against religious limitations on speech. it does so not only by asserting that the right to free speech is foundational to a free and democratic society as well as to the protection and promotion of other rights. it also appeals explicitly to the values of freedom of conscience and equality before the law.

according to paragraph 48, “prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with the covenant, except in the specific circumstances envisaged in article 20, paragraph 2, of the covenant.” article 20, paragraph 2 calls on states to prohibit “advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.” the comment is careful to require that any restrictions must not violate the conventions’ guarantees of equality before the law (article 26) and freedom of thought, conscience, and religion (article 18).


1 comment:

  1. So now we just have to wait for it to be translated into Irish etc?