Hosting “Defamation of Religions” panel discussion parallel to UNGA

UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief cordially invites you to a panel discussion and luncheon

“Defamation of Religions”

The Relationship between freedom of expression and freedom of religion

Delegates’ Dining Room

United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

1-3 p.m.

For the first time since non-binding resolutions on “defamation of religions” were passed at the UN starting in 1999, a binding treaty citing “defamation of religions” is being considered by a UN body. This week, the Ad Hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary international standards (established by the Durban Outcome Document) is debating an optional protocol to the ICERD incorporating “defamation of religions” in Geneva. The issue also promises to be a high-profile matter at the General Assembly this year.

Critics of “defamation of religions” say that the concept undermines the foundations of human rights law by protecting ideas instead of people, and empowering states instead of their citizens. Does the concept foster understanding and accomplish what its proponents say it does, or does it destabilize rights that international instruments currently protect?

This roundtable discussion will seek to foster philosophical, sociological, and legal understanding of a timely and important issue.

Panelists include:

Professor Cole Durham
Brigham Young University Law School
OSCE Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Dr. Peter Petkoff
Oxford University

Nasser Weddady
American Islamic Congress

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Suhail Khan
The Institute for Global Engagement

Elizabeth Cassidy
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

PLEASE RSVP: Caitlin Seery • • +1 (404) 312 8824

For security clearance, please specify if you do not have an UN badge.

Co-sponsored by:
UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief
The BYU Center for Law and Religion Studies
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty