UN adopts Pak-backed resolution against hate speech, Islamophobia

Pakistan Mission Counsellor Bilal Chaudhry speaks after the adoption of the resolution on “Promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in countering hate speech” on July 25, 2023. — Twitter/@PakistanUN_NY

NEW YORK: The United Nations, with Pakistan as a co-sponsor, adopted a resolution titled “Promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in countering hate speech” on Tuesday.

The resolution has urged the global community to counter all forms and dimensions of hate speech. It was adopted by consensus at the UN headquarters in New York, with 44 nations in favour, 62 against and 24 absent during voting.

“It also recognises with deep concern the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence, regardless of the actors, including cases motivated by Islamophobia in PP18, a proposal put forward by Pakistan, later joined by Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia,” read a statement by the Permanent Mission of Pakistan Mission to the UN.

Pakistan, it added, also led efforts along with Malaysia and Egypt on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to include language in the text, by the terms of which the Assembly strongly deplored all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as any such acts directed against their religious symbols, holy books, places of worship, religious sites and shrines in violation of international law, making the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly to strongly deplore all acts of violence against religious symbols and holy books.

Pakistan Mission Counsellor Bilal Chaudhry, on behalf of the mission, expressed profound satisfaction with the resolution’s adoption.

He said that the text adopted resonates with a resolution on religious hatred, adopted recently at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, which was presented by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC group.

That landmark resolution in the Human Rights Council condemned “all advocacy and manifestations of religious hatred, including recent public and premeditated acts that have desecrated the Quran” and called for countries to adopt laws enabling them to bring to justice those responsible for such acts,” the counsellor added. Chaudhry said Islamophobia is on the rise with repeated incidents of desecration of the Holy Quran. “These acts are not just a provocation to the feelings of more than two billion Muslims in the world, but a step to sabotage interfaith harmony and peace,” he maintained.