clear
Saturday November 25th, 2017 6:08AM

UN expert says most of world lacks real religious freedom

By The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Three-quarters of the world's people live in countries that either restrict the right to religion or belief or have "a high level of social hostility involving religion or belief," the U.N. special investigator on religious rights said Tuesday.

Ahmed Shaheed told the General Assembly's human rights committee that religious intolerance is prevalent globally — and rising around the world.

He said over 70 countries currently have anti-blasphemy laws that can be used to suppress dissenting views, in violation of international human rights standards.

Shaheed, a former politician and human rights expert from the Maldives, urged those countries to repeal the blasphemy laws.

He also called for the repeal of all laws that undermine the exercise of the right to freedom of religion or belief — or discriminate against that right.

Shaheed urged countries to adopt and enforce "adequate criminal sanctions penalizing violent and particularly egregious discriminatory acts perpetrated by state or non-state actors against persons based on their religion or belief."

He said governments must also pay "particular attention" to uphold the obligation to protect religious minorities.

"Increases in unlawful government restrictions against religious groups remain one of the primary and most fundamental factors resulting in higher levels of religious intolerance in any given society," Shaheed said.

Some forms of discrimination are direct, such as prohibiting some or all religions or beliefs, he said. But others may be indirect, like zoning laws that prevent construction of certain houses of worship or bans on refugees or immigrants, "ostensibly for national security reasons, from countries where majority populations belong to particular faith communities," he said.

The special investigator, or rapporteur, on freedom of religion or belief is an independent expert appointed by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council. Shaheed previously served for almost six years as special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Dodgers hold 3-1 lead through 7 innings
The Dodgers lead the Astros 3-1 through seven innings of the World Series opener
10:22PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Kessel's OT winner leads Penguins past McDavid, Oilers 2-1
Phil Kessel beat Cam Talbot 42 seconds into overtime to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Edmonton Oilers 2-1
10:08PM ( 22 minutes ago )
$1.3M auction bid buys Albert Einstein's theory of happiness
While Albert Einstein's theory of happiness may be relative, it fetched $1.3 million at a Jerusalem auction
10:00PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Latest front in Weinstein scandal: Statehouses say 'me too'
An open letter alleging widespread sexual harassment in Illinois politics and urging women and their allies to come forward is circulating around the state Capitol
9:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
Potential showdown in eastern Syria over IS-held territory
As U.S.-allied fighters hurtle down the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, a showdown could ensue between the U.S. and Russia, whose allies are racing to take over the same strategic territory in oil-rich eastern Syria from the Islamic State group
9:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Astros tie Game 1-1 on Bregman homer
The Astros tied the game 1-all on Alex Bregman's homer leading off the fourth
9:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Trump allows refugee admissions to resume with new screening
President Donald Trump is allowing the resumption of refugee admissions as a complete ban he instituted four months ago expires
8:14PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Clayton Kershaw gets early standing ovation
Clayton Kershaw is getting a standing ovation and he hasn't thrown his first World Series pitch yet
7:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
US suspects Niger villager betrayed Army troops
The U.S. military believes someone in a Niger village may have tipped off attackers to the presence of U.S. commandoes and Nigerien forces in the area, setting in motion the ambush that killed four Americans
7:17PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Dodgers hold 3-1 lead through 7 innings
The Dodgers lead the Astros 3-1 through seven innings of the World Series opener
10:22PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Kessel's OT winner leads Penguins past McDavid, Oilers 2-1
Phil Kessel beat Cam Talbot 42 seconds into overtime to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Edmonton Oilers 2-1
10:08PM ( 23 minutes ago )
$1.3M auction bid buys Albert Einstein's theory of happiness
While Albert Einstein's theory of happiness may be relative, it fetched $1.3 million at a Jerusalem auction
10:00PM ( 30 minutes ago )
AP source: Clinton camp helped fund Trump dossier research
The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund a political research firm that produced a dossier of allegations about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia
9:59PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Doping scandal roils another sport: Dogsledding
The world's most famous dog sled race was dealt another blow from a doping scandal that follows the loss of major sponsors, numerous dog deaths and pressure from animal rights activists
9:58PM ( 33 minutes ago )