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On 25 March, in the closest vote yet on “Combating Defamation of Religion”, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the annual resolution by 20 votes to 17 with eight abstentions. This compares with the 2009 vote of 23 in favour, 11 against, with 13 abstaining. The vote came at the end of a heavy campaign by IHEU and several other NGOs against the concept of defamation of religion. During the March session of the Council, IHEU representatives distributed over 100 copies of the IHEU report “Speaking Freely about Religion” which strongly criticized the annual resolution.

Speaking after the vote, IHEU main representative in Geneva, Roy Brown, said: “This is a moral victory for all those who believe that human rights belong to human beings, not to governments, cultures, traditions, religions or ideas.”

Brown had earlier attacked the resolution in the plenary of the Council, urging all states to vote against the resolution as both unnecessary and unjustifiable. http://www.iheu.org/iheu-statement-restrictions-and-defamation-religion

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