US, Europeans say Islamic countries want to limit free speech at the UN
by Eliane Engeler
GENEVA - The United States, Canada and some European countries said Tuesday that Islamic nations were trying to limit freedom of speech at the UN by trying to make an independent rights expert scrutinize individuals instead of dictatorial regimes.
The amendment passed by the UN Human Rights Council in its rush to adjourn Friday told its expert on freedom of expression to report on people who abuse their free speech rights to espouse racial and religious discrimination.
The measure, proposed by Egypt and Pakistan, passed 32-0 with the support of Islamic, Arab and African nations. European nations and some other countries abstained.
"The resolution adopted attempts to legitimize the criminalization of expression," said Warren W. Tichenor, U.S. ambassador to the UN in Geneva.
The document seeks to impose "restrictions on individuals rather than to emphasize the duty and responsibility of governments to guarantee, uphold, promote and protect human rights," he told the council.
The United States is not a member of the council but has rights to speak as an observer.
1) US, Europeans say Islamic countries want to limit free speech at the UN