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Erklärungen in internationalen Organisationen

30.06.2006

United Nations Human Rights Council, First Session (Geneva, 19-30 June 2006)


EU Explanation of Vote on L.16

 

Mr. President,

I am taking the floor on behalf of the European Union members of the Council and the acceding State Romania with regard to draft decision A/HRC/1/L.16 on “Incitement to Racial and Religious Hatred and Promotion of Tolerance”.

The draft decision addresses an issue of great importance, the Human Rights Council should consider with all the attention it deserves. It is for this reason, that the EU has difficulties with the draft before us, both in terms of procedure and in terms of substance.

The EU wishes to express its disappointment at the presentation of a draft decision on such an important matter at the very end of this first session of the Human Rights Council. We firmly believe that constructive and genuine dialogue rooted in mutual respect and understanding is the best way of addressing issues related to combating all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief and incitement to religious hatred. Action on this draft at such a late stage of our session without proper consultation, however, does not seem to us to be in line with this new spirit of genuine dialogue and cooperation reflected in GA resolution 60/251.

It was on this understanding that the EU actively participated in consultations of the President in order to reach a good outcome on all main issues addressed in our debate on Monday, including on avoiding incitement to religious or racial hatred and violence through the promotion of tolerance and dialogue.

Mr. President,

The European Union firmly believes in the principles of tolerance, non-discrimination, freedom of thought, conscience and expression, and freedom of religion or belief, in all their aspects.

The European Union finds it extremely important to promote greater tolerance and to avoid incitement to religious or racial hatred and violence, including through the promotion of human rights education and learning.

The European Union would have liked to see some changes to the present text. No consultations were held. At this late stage of our proceedings, the EU will however not pursue the option of presenting amendments to the text.

The European Union continues to be of the view that promoting respect for all religions or beliefs is best addressed in a comprehensive manner, based on and reaffirming equal promotion and protection of all human rights. One major concern is the reference to “defamation of religions”. A focus on “defamation of religions” implies protection of religion as an institution, without due regard to the right of individuals to freedom of religion or belief. Thereby it runs the risk of being used in order to justify limitations on or denial of enjoyment of human rights. The European Union meanwhile continues to engage in a dialogue in favour of respect for all religions and beliefs in a global human rights context.

The European Union also wishes to highlight the essential role played by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in this context, jointly with the two Special Rapporteurs mentioned in the decision. It is therefore of utmost importance, that also his report is considered in this context and also included in OP1.

The European Union has been and continues to be ready to actively engage with all interested delegations on these matters, in order to enter into a constructive and genuine dialogue rooted in mutual respect and understanding. Further, the European Union will continue to address these issues and actively promote dialogue, mutual understanding and respect through all existing mechanisms.

However, for the reasons explained, the EU is unable to support the text.

Thank you, Mr. President.

 

Datum: 10.07.2006