Resolution condemns laws specifically designed to control, monitor Muslim minorities.
GENEVA – The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday passed a resolution condemning Islamaphobic behaviour, including Switzerland’s minaret building ban, despite some states’ major reservations.
The resolution “strongly condemns… the ban on the construction of minarets of mosques and other recent discriminatory measures.”
In a November referendum Swiss citizens voted to ban the construction of new minarets, a move that drew criticisms worldwide.
These measures “are manifestations of Islamophobia that stand in sharp contradiction to international human rights obligations concerning freedoms of religions,” said the resolution.
Such acts would “fuel discrimination, extremism and misperception leading to polarization and fragmentation with dangerous unintended and unforeseen consequences,” it said.
Some 20 countries voted in favour of the resolution entitled “combating defamation of religions”, 17 voted against and eight abstained.
The resolution also “expresses deep concern … that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.”
It “regrets the laws or administrative measures specifically designed to control and monitor Muslim minorities, thereby stigmatising them and legitimising the discrimination they experience.”
Putting forward the resolution on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Pakistan’s ambassador Zamir Akram said that the specific references to Islam, the only religion mentioned in the text, “reflect the existing regrettable situation in some parts of the world where Muslims are being targeted.”
Babacar Ba, who represents the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, also told reporters that the resolution was a “way to reaffirm once again our condemnation of the decision to ban construction of minarets in Switzerland.”
“This initiative that breaches religious freedom and rights of Muslims to build their places of worship as they wish to,” he added.
However, the European Union pointed out that the concept of defamation should not fall under the remit of human rights because it conflicted with the right to freedom of expression, while the United States said free speech could be hindered by the resolution.