New Delhi: In the United Nations, India supported the resolution brought by Pakistan and Palestine. The UN’s top human rights body on Wednesday approved a resolution calling on countries to do more to curb religious hatred in the wake of the Quran burning incidents in Europe. Western countries were opposed to this and feared that stricter measures by governments could hinder freedom of expression.
Pakistan and Palestine brought proposals
The 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in Geneva on Wednesday approved the resolution brought by Pakistan and Palestine by 12 votes to 28. 7 members abstained from this voting. India voted in favor of the resolution which ‘condemns and strongly rejects recent public and premeditated acts of desecration of the Holy Quran’. It also underlines the need to hold perpetrators of these acts of religious hatred accountable in line with States’ obligations arising from international human rights law.
Applause erupted in the House of Human Rights Council as soon as this resolution against the desecration of the Quran was passed. Several developing countries in Africa as well as China and West Asian countries supported the resolution. It included Bangladesh, Cuba, Malaysia, Maldives, Qatar, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates. Among the countries that voted against the resolution were Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, the UK and the US. The proposal was brought after recent incidents of Quran burning in some parts of Europe.
The resolution introduced by Pakistan and Palestine calls on countries to take measures to prevent and prosecute acts of religious hatred and their advocacy that incites discrimination, hostility or violence. Pakistan’s ambassador Khalil Hashmi stressed after the vote that the resolution does not seek to curb the right to freedom of speech, but seeks a fair balance between freedom of expression and special responsibilities.