|October 31st, 2008||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2003
Blog Entries: 34
United Nations (UN) and Free Speech
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
International Symposium on Freedom of Expression
Mr Frank William La Rue Lewy
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection
of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Special Procedures Division,
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10,
Email : [email protected]
27 October 2008
Dear Special Rapporteur Frank William La Rue Lewy:
On 29 October 2008 you will be a featured speaker at the International Symposium on Freedom of Expression to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. My understanding is that you hold that, in combination, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UNESCO Constitution provide irrefutable evidence in the belief that freedom of opinion and of expression constitute the cornerstone of any democratic society and a fundamental basis for development.
The first of the three sessions of the Symposium will address Freedom of Expression with regard to Development, the second Freedom of Expression with regard to Democracy, and the third Freedom of Expression with regard to Dialogue. That is, "Development," "Democracy" and "Dialogue" are all seen to be dependent on Freedom of Expression. I agree.
At the same time, you must be aware that Nations such as Germany, Israel, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and others deny Freedom of Expression to those who question the taboo that protects the Holocaust question from being addressed in the routine manner that all other historical questions are addressed. That those who do question the Holocaust in full or in part are subject to arrest, trial, and imprisonment in those countries for having an opinion about history.
At this moment the Australian writer, Fredrick Toben, is in a British jail awaiting extradition to Germany to be tried for the "crime" of asking taboo questions about the Holocaust. Does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, does the UNESCO Constitution, have anything to say about this? Will you have anything to say about this as a featured speaker at the Symposium?
UNESCO argues that "journalists are under increasing attack and good journalism is endangered, especially in societies that would most benefit from a pluralistic and independent media ... This violence constitutes one of the greatest threats to freedom of expression and freedom of the press."
Do you not agree that "all" societies would benefit from a pluralistic and independent media, even German society where revisionist writers and publishers are now in prison for asking questions about history? French society? Swiss society? Or is it only those societies we identify as being in the "Third World" that are in need of a pluralistic and independent media?
We all agree with UNESCO that when a journalist is imprisoned for having written something that offends his Government it is inexcusable - in Thailand, or Burma, or Kenya. But when a journalist or publisher is imprisoned in Germany or France or Austria for writing something that offends his government we are perfectly willing to rationalize it. Do you believe we should judge press freedom one way in Asian and African nations, but use a different standard to judge press freedom in Europe?
I would hope that you, as the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Procedures Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, would address this issue at the 29 October Symposium. Why would you not?
Thank you for your attention.
Bradley R. Smith
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
PO Box 439016
San Ysidro, California 92143
Desk: 209 682 5327
Note: I will copy this to some of your colleagues.
Posted by Bradley R. Smith at 11:40 AM
|August 18th, 2013||#2|
Join Date: Nov 2003
Blog Entries: 34
Hate crime: United Nations targets the Internet and social media networks
Jim Kouri|Law Enforcement Examiner
August 14, 2013
On Tuesday, the United Nations' Human Rights Office voiced its fears over what the UN claims is the rapid spread of racist hate speech across borders via the Internet and social media networks.
The UN's Flavia Pansieri, its recently appointed deputy high commissioner for the Human Rights Office, stated that, as she sees it, the Internet racist speech is "compounded by the lack of a universally acceptable definition of what constitutes hate speech."
But according to US Constitutional law scholar, Jay Sekulow, an attorney and founder of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), "Russia is pushing for a move that would turn over control of the Internet from a US-based entity to the United Nations. This troubling power play would give unprecedented authority to the UN. Such a move would mean only one thing: censorship."
Ms. Pansieri spoke at the start of the latest session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties.
According to the CERD mandate, "All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every two years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of 'concluding observations.'"
Commissioner Pansieri stated that incorporating human rights education in schools would go along way in the prevention and eradication of all forms of discrimination and intolerance.
She noted during her presentation:
“Where does the right of expression which we all want to respect stop and the need to sanction and prevent hate speech begin? What is the point in time when one right has to recognize that it cannot be exercised if it implies the violation of another one?
“[For example,] persons with albinism have been dismembered alive. There have been abductions in 15 African states and the special Rapporteur has strongly urged governments to really engage in raising awareness and understanding that the different color of skin of persons with albinism doesn't make them less human beings and any less deserving or having all the rights respected and protected. ”
However, Sekulow claims that "the UN's goal is to put the Internet under global government control, consider this clause taken from the Russian proposal - clearly putting UN member states and the United Nations at the helm of controlling and regulating the Internet: Member States should endeavor to establish policies aimed at meeting public requirements with respect to Internet access and use, and at assisting, including through international cooperation, administrations and operating agencies in supporting the operation and development of the Internet."