Blasphemy Resolution Passes U.N. Committee

A resolution combating the “vilification of religions” has been adopted by a United Nations committee, but religious freedom advocates say support for the measure continues to diminish.

The Nov. 23 vote – 76 yes, 64 no, and 42 abstentions – received fewer affirmative votes than last year, said Freedom House, a human rights group that has worked against the resolution.

“We are disappointed that his pernicious resolution has passed yet again, despite strong evidence that legal measures to restrict speech are both ineffective and a direct violation of freedom of expression,” said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at Freedom House.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent bipartisan panel, said the measure’s diminished support shows some countries think the resolution can do more harm than good.

“Religious intolerance is best fought through efforts to encourage respect for every individual’s human rights, not through national or international anti-blasphemy laws,” said Commission Chair Leonard Leo.