Freedom of Belief

International Legal Research

Information about Freedom of Belief in free legal resources:

Treaties & Agreements

International Organizations

Jurisprudence $ Commentary

European Union

IP Law

Freedom of Belief

HRC Resolutions at the 22nd Session in 2013

United States views on international law [1] in relation to Resolutions at the 22nd Session: At its 22nd session, the HRC adopted two resolutions related to freedom of religion or belief. Resolution 22/20 was co-sponsored by the United States and the European Union and affirms that respect for religious diversity is an essential element of a peaceful society. Ambassador Donahoe delivered a statement on behalf of the U.S. delegation in support of the resolution on March 21, 2013. Resolution 22/20 was adopted without a vote on March 22, 2013. U.N. Doc. A/HRC/RES/22/20. Ambassador Donahoe's statement is excerpted below and available in full at (link resource) geneva.usmission.gov/2013/03/22/respect-for-religious-diversity-is-an-essentialelement-of-any-peaceful-society/.

Some Aspects of Resolutions at the 22nd Session

The United States is pleased to co-sponsor the EU-sponsored resolution on the freedom of religion or belief. The United States strongly supports freedom of religion for all people around the world. Unfortunately, in too many countries, governments fail to protect, or actively deny, their peoples' fundamental right to believe according to their conscience and to manifest those beliefs, and subject their citizens to violence, severe discrimination, or arrest on account of those beliefs. Too many people around the world face the threat of prosecution from blasphemy and apostasy laws, which governments frequently use to shield themselves from legitimate criticism, and fellow citizens use as weapons in private disputes. Too many governments routinely fail to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of sectarian crimes, leading to a climate of impunity that may breed violent extremism. These trends must be reversed if we are to realize sustainable peace in this world.

Developments

We note with particular concern the worsening plight of religious minority communities in Iran, including Christians, Sunnis, Sufis, Jews, and Baha'i. Iranian officials continue to restrict these communities' freedom to practice their religious beliefs free from harassment, threat, or intimidation. Christian pastor Saeed Abedini's continuing harsh treatment at the hands of Iranian authorities exemplifies this trend. We repeat our call for the Government of Iran to release Mr. Abedini, and others who are unjustly imprisoned, and to cease immediately its persecution of all religious minority communities. The United States also repeats its call for the Government of Iran to provide without delay the urgent medical attention Mr. Abedini needs. Respect for religious diversity is an essential element of any peaceful society, and religious freedom is a universal human right that all states have a responsibility to uphold. We implore all states to live up to their obligations and to hold accountable those who seek to restrict the freedom of religion.

Details

Another resolution was adopted on March 22, 2013 that follows up on resolution 16/18 on combating religious intolerance, adopted in 2011. U.N. Doc. A/HRC/RES/22/31; see this world legal encyclopedia (in relation to issues that took place in the year 2011) at 236-37 on the adoption of resolution 16/18. Assistant Secretary Brimmer's remarks at the opening of the 22nd session of the HRC, excerpted in Section A.1.a, in this world legal Encyclopedia, also discuss resolution 16/18. Ambassador Donahoe delivered the comment of the U.S. delegation in support of resolution 22/31 on “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief.” Her statement is excerpted below and available in full at (link resource) geneva.usmission.gov/2013/03/22/16-18/.

More

For the third year in a row, this Council has affirmed the Resolution 16/18 consensus on a range of positive steps that states should take to address the glaring challenges of intolerance, discrimination, and violence on the basis of religion or belief without infringing on the fundamental freedoms of expression and religion. All too often today we hear of places of worship being attacked, of individuals belonging to minority religious communities facing violence and discrimination because of their beliefs, and of repressive laws infringing on the freedoms of religion and expression.

More

The steps called for in this resolution—such as protecting places of worship, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, and speaking out against intolerance—are critical in addressing these pressing concerns in a manner that protects universal human rights. This consensus has moved this Council away from the divisive and unacceptable approach of encouraging restrictions on speech as a way to address intolerance, to an approach that recognizes that protection of human rights for all individuals is essential to promote tolerance and understanding. We have worked with many partners to promote implementation of the specific actions called for in this resolution. And we continue to promote such action through assistance and training programs, and through participation in the Istanbul process of experts meetings to identify best practices.

Resolutions at the 22nd Session in 2013 (Continuation)

United States views on international law [1] in relation to Resolutions at the 22nd Session: On March 25, 2013, the U.S. delegation to the HRC made a statement in an interactive dialogue that included the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Heiner Bielfeldt. The statement is excerpted below and available in full at (link resource) geneva.usmission.gov/2013/03/06/u-s-statement-on-freedom-of-religion-orbelief-item-3/.

More about Resolutions at the 22nd Session

The United States also thanks Special Rapporteur Bielfeldt. We appreciate his focus on the need to respect and protect freedom of religion or belief of persons belonging to religious minorities.

Development

Many of the Special Rapporteur's documented violations are confirmed through our own Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. Despite some progress, the overall status of religious freedom in the world is sliding backward, especially for religious minorities. We stand by those reaching for greater dignity and freedom and demanding that their governments institutionalize democratic reform. We are concerned by governments that fail to protect religious minorities, reform discriminatory laws, or speak out against hate on the basis of religion or belief. Many countries restrict religious freedom supposedly to ensure public safety, even though studies have shown that suppression of religious freedom is directly correlated with instability and violence. Some states use the pretext of countering violent extremism to suppress religious freedom and other human rights, even though such suppression itself can lead to radicalization. Those arrested on charges of extremism are often subject to torture, beatings, and harsh prison conditions.

Details

We also note the Special Rapporteur's recommendations for promoting religious freedom and tolerance, many of which have been outlined in Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. We continue to urge implementation of the constructive measures laid out in that resolution, including the development of outreach programs to religious minorities, training for government officials on religious and cultural needs and sensitivities, promoting understanding through education and the media, and interfaith dialogue.

More

Finally, we would like to underscore the important role of civil society, religious communities, and national human rights institutions to promote religious freedom along with governments, and to speak out against intolerance. The United States continues to establish partnerships with groups and individuals around the globe and we are using our convening power to bring together various groups to advance religious freedom around the world.

Resources

Notes

  1. Resolutions at the 22nd Session in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law

Resources

Notes

  1. Resolutions at the 22nd Session in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law

Leave a Comment