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UN adopts Pakistan-sponsored resolution against hate speech and Islamophobia

The resolution, titled "Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and Tolerance in Countering Hate Speech," received widespread support during the UN session.

New York, 26 July, 2023 (GNP):  The United Nations has taken a significant step in countering hate speech and Islamophobia with the adoption of a resolution co-sponsored by Pakistan.

The resolution, titled “Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and Tolerance in Countering Hate Speech,” received widespread support during the UN session.

The resolution, which urges the international community to combat hate speech in all its forms, was approved by consensus at the UN with 44 voted in favor, 62 against, and 24 absent during the adoption.

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A joint statement by the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN highlighted the resolution’s focus on the alarming increase in discrimination, intolerance, and violence worldwide. Pakistan, along with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, proposed PP18, drawing attention to instances of Islamophobia and its grave consequences.

In collaboration with Malaysia and Egypt, Pakistan spearheaded efforts on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to include crucial language in the resolution.

The adopted text strongly deplores all acts of violence targeting individuals based on their religion or beliefs, as well as any acts against religious symbols, holy books, places of worship, religious sites and shrines in violation of international law. The resolution marks the General Assembly’s first strong condemnation of violence against religious symbols and Holy books.

Counsellor Bilal Chaudhry, representing the Pakistan Mission, expressed immense satisfaction with the resolution’s passage. He emphasized that the resolution aligns with a similar one adopted recently by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, which Pakistan presented on behalf of the OIC group.

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The resolution presented in the Human Rights Council denounced all forms of religious hatred, particularly the desecration of the Quran, and called for appropriate legal measures to bring perpetrators to justice, he added.

Chaudhry highlighted the rising incidents of Islamophobia and the desecration of the Holy Quran, emphasizing the need to protect interfaith harmony and peace. He condemned such acts as provocations not only to the feelings of over two billion Muslims but also as threats to racial harmony and global peace.

Stressing that the resolution does not infringe upon the right to free speech, he underlined the international community’s special duties and responsibilities to safeguard interfaith harmony and peace.