Category: Human Rights

When blasphemy is a crime

The United Nations General Assembly may soon vote — not for the first time — in favor of a resolution opposing the “defamation of religions.” The idea, which may sound appealing at first blush, is particularly championed by Islamic countries, which would like to go even further and have the condemnation enshrined in international law.

But a new report by Freedom House, a Washington-based human rights organization, demonstrates how such policies have too often been used by countries to suppress freedom of speech and freedom of religion, leading to serious human rights abuses.

See also: Free Speech and Radical Islam

International legal experts unveil index to measure how well nations follow rule of law. Plus: Robert Jay Lifton comments on U.S. use of torture

Legal experts from 95 countries have devised a way of measuring how well leaders, officials and judges are meeting the basic principles of law and human rights. That means the USA no longer has to pretend that it is the standard by which all other countries should be judged.

Also: not coincidentally, Robert Jay Lifton comments on America’s use of torture.

Accused Egyptian Blogger Stands Trial

An Egyptian blogger went on trial Thursday on charges of insulting Islam and causing sectarian strife with his Internet writings. Egypt’s first prosecution of a blogger came as Washington has backed away from pressuring its Mideast ally to improve its human rights record and bring democratic reform.

Religious Groups Outraged by Amnesty International Abortion Proposal

ATHENS, Greece Famed for its human rights work, Amnesty International is under siege from religious groups outraged by a proposal that would expand Amnesty’s mandate to include supporting access to abortion in cases such as sexual violence. A small but growing band of anti-abortion campaigners and Roman Catholic clerics including some who have backed Amnesty’s activities in the past claim the Nobel Prize-winning group is drifting away from its principles of unbiased advocacy. They have threatened to pull away members and donations, and have called for a flood of protest letters to Amnesty offices the same