The latest draft from the UN human rights council sponsored by Egypt and the US contains some wording I’ve made bold:
4. Also expresses its concern that incidents of racial and religious intolerance, discrimination and related violence, as well as of negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups continue to rise around the world, and condemns, in this context, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and urges States to take effective measures, consistent with their international human rights obligations, to address and combat such incidents
Under this wording, can one offer any legitimate conclusions from criticisms of religions without facing the charge of negative stereotyping and incitement to discrimination? Additionally, what might effective measures leveled against one so charged look like?
Well, to be sure, Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which states it is a hate crime to publish or communicate by telephony any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination (such as religion) has been used to first silence and then punish some person or media so accused. The ‘conviction’ rate has been 100% of those so accused, which makes the work of the commission to be more along the lines of a kangaroo court enforcing opinions deemed correct by the commissioners and their political masters rather than any kind of enlightened body furthering human rights.
So when I read a draft from the UN Human Rights council that contains such a similar sentiment as the Canadian example, I grow highly skeptical that any such sentiment translates into anything other than some way to harness the power of the state to legitimize and protect religious nonsense from valid criticism. And that’s hardly an improvement for advancing human rights.