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Victory for campaigners as Jordan withdraws ‘criticism of religion’ resolution

Human rights campaigners celebrated a victory at the weekend as the Kingdom of Jordan withdrew a proposed resolution at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which sought to enshrine ‘respect for religions and religious symbols’ in law and restrict speech which was deemed to defame religions or offend religious sensibilities. Human rights campaigners, including the British Humanist Association (BHA), rallied to draw attention to the resolution, with many signing an open letter to delegations of the IPU organised by the free speech organisation Article 19.

Following the outcry, Jordan withdrew the resolution on Sunday.

BHA Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns Pavan Dhaliwal said, ‘Periodically religious states will come along and try to enshrine a form of blasphemy law at international institutions such as the United Nations or the IPU. Thanks are owed to those campaigners all over the world who keep a vigilant eye on these sorts of possible encroachments on liberty and the right to free expression, and we’re thankful that in this instance the proposed resolution has been withdrawn swiftly by Jordan.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact BHA Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns Pavan Dhaliwal at pavan@humanism.org.uk or on 0773 843 5059.

Read the Article 19 open letter to IPU delegates, signed by the BHA: http://www.article19.org/data/files/medialibrary/37912/IPU-letter.pdf

Read the 2014 Freedom of Thought Report: freethoughtreport.com

Learn more about the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws: end-blasphemy-laws.org

Read the Oxford Declaration on Freedom of Thought and Expressioniheu.org/oxford-declaration-on-freedom-of-thought-and-expression

Read about the BHA’s statements at the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council:

Read about new pattern of scapegoating and targeting of the non-religious, as found by the International Humanist and Ethical Union: humanism.org.uk/2014/12/10/freedom-thought-report-2014-non-religious-targeted-hate-campaigns-report-finds

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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