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Daily Times: Religious bigotry and the UN

Author: Peter Jacob
April 15, 2010

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In this op-ed from Pakistan's Daily Times, Peter Jacob explores the reasons for why the UN Resolution on Defamation of Religions has caught little attention in Pakistan and recommends that the Pakistani government review its position on the resolution, pointing out that it will undermine the development in the conceptual framework and implementation of human rights.

Astonishingly, while the tabling and passage of the Defamation Resolution provoked a heated debate on supposed defamation versus freedom of expression, the resolution and its implications remained unknown in Pakistan

The Resolution on Defamation of Religions is undoubtedly a prototype of the infamous blasphemy laws in Pakistan, protected by the pressure groups - aided by the bureaucracy - from any revision or change in their substance, albeit the blasphemy laws have claimed several dozens of innocent lives and hundreds of people suffered trials, jail sentences and displacement. Despite the fact that successive governments in Pakistan admitted that the blasphemy laws were frequently abused, they have hesitated so far from bringing forth the data on the issue. The data collected by the National Commission for Justice and Peace showed that among around 850 persons accused of blasphemy since 1987, half the victims were Muslims.

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