Resolution 7/19: “Combating Defamation of Religions”

On Friday the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a non-binding motion put forward by Pakistan aimed at “combating the defamation of religions.” (The Globe and Mail lead editorial today inveighed against the resolution.) Canada, along with nine other nations, voted against the resolution, pointing out that, among other things, rights properly belong to individuals and not entities such as religions. Twenty-one nations voted for the resolution and 14 abstained.

The text of the resolution is available online in PDF. (A nice challenge, by the way, is to see how you can get to the resolution from the front page of the Human Rights Council website without resorting to “search”.)

On a personal note, I’ve just come away from listening to a fascinating discussion among four of the most prominent authors of books challenging religion and the existence of a deity, so reading the resolution gives me the shivers. The point of the post, however, as it should be on Slaw, is to direct attention to the important texts themselves, rather than the secondary analyses of them.


  1. Hi Simon, that PDF appears to be about a similar resolution from last year. The new one is available starting on page 78 at:

  2. Thanks, Olli. I appreciate the correction. And congrats on finding the thing.

  3. Would admitting to being an atheist constitute defamation of religion? Would saying that there is no god/God? What of those rather wishy/washy bus posters saying there is probably no God? The possibilities of defamation are endless, and their number rather scary.

    We (and many others) already have laws against hate literature, where there is incitement to violence, and sometimes not even that. It should be a hard offence to get a conviction for, since it’s an easy one to make an accusation of.