Update: Presenting ‘Defamation of Religions’ research at the UN HRCouncil

Defamations of Religion, HRC, Mar 2011

I joined NGO and OHCHR staff to present research at the panel, ‘Evolution of the recent debate on defamation of religions‘, on behalf of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), and the SOAS Human Rights Clinic, during the 16th UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.  The study (available here in full, co-written with Julia Alfandari and Regula Atteya) charts the development of discourse on religious defamation at the United Nations, and analyses blasphemy cases in Pakistan, Syria and Algeria using the international human rights legal framework.  It has been published by the Social Science Research Network , and was well used by NGOs and delegates at the Session in the lead up to a groundbreaking draft resolution that better preserved the right to free expression. The resolution was pronounced a ‘landmark’ by then-US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.

Other panelists included the Director of the Human Rights Treaties Division at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Ibrahim Salama ; Pakistan MP, Bushra Gohar; and Senior Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19, Sejal Parmar. The event was sponsored by the CIHRS, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights and ARTICLE 19.