The West stands by idly as its foundations are rent asunder.
Last Friday the UN’s Human Rights Council took a direct swipe at freedom of expression. In a 32-0 vote, the council instructed its “expert on freedom of expression” to report to the council on all instances in which individuals “abuse” their freedom of speech by giving expression to racial or religious bias.
The measure was proposed by paragons of freedom Egypt and Pakistan. It was supported by all Arab, Muslim and African countries – founts of liberty one and all. European states abstained.
The US, which is not a member of the Human Rights Council, tried to oppose the measure. In a speech before the council, US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Warren Tichenor warned that the resolution’s purpose is to undermine freedom of expression because it imposes “restrictions on individuals rather than emphasiz[ing] the duty and responsibility of governments to guarantee, uphold, promote and protect human rights.”
By seeking to criminalize free speech, the resolution stands in breach of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of that document states explicitly: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” —-more—–