Så ved man, hvad man kan forvente af Durban II – det skal være forbudt at kritisere islam.
Speaking before a United Nations audience, French secretary of state for human rights Rama Yade voiced the strongest international backing yet for Geneva activist David Littman, who was silenced by the Human Rights Council this past June for daring to mention the role of Islamic Sharia law in certain violations of women’s rights. Showing more courage and candor than any other European official, Yade said that
…[H]uman rights is all about being very alert. There may be attempts to deny their universal nature but there is also European action to be taken within the French presidency. Certain governments would like certain forms of slander to be acknowledged as criminal law offences which run counter to the principle of universality upon which human rights are predicated.
And along the same line, it is very saddening that within the UN Human Rights Council, last June, a speaker of an NGO was censored because he was talking about the stoning of women in countries applying Sharia law. We have to be very determined as to maintaining the universal nature of human rights even if they are mistreated by States who defend a view of things that they themselves describe as cultural.
The Senegalese-born Yade addressed the opening of the UN’s annual conference of non-governmental organizations, held for the first time in Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing there of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer headed the conference’s NGO expert panel on the UN Human Rights Council.
According to Yade, France took a strong stand rejecting relativism, and would call for a European Union drive to tackle violence against women worldwide. As current holder of the six-month EU presidency, France hopes to use Europe’s diplomats to “set the criteria for EU intervention” in combating violence towards women, said Yade.
Yade also told the conference that Paris plans to submit a draft declaration to the UN General Assembly in December aimed at combating homophobia and decriminalizing homosexuality, which is punishable by prison in 90 countries and by death in six of them. The Paris conference gathered 1,700 NGOs associated with the United Nations for three days of debate.
More excerpts from Rama Yade’s speech:
…For instance on women, I believe that a Congolese woman from Goma must have the same rights, is entitled the same rights as a Parisian. This is what universality is all about. Do not accept relativism and this is why I decided for the French presidency of the European Union to introduce and defend a subjective gender equality, in particular regarding violence against women.
You know, no doubt, that the European Union already has guidelines on five subjects: death penalty, torture, dialogue with third countries, children in armed conflicts and human rights defenders. When we gather together all the instruments of the European Union, this can serve as a framework to protect human rights beyond European bodies and my objective is to add to this range guidelines on violence against women. It will set the criteria for UE intervention in women rights and will also be applied and trigger measures in the European diplomatic network. The preliminary work is on the way and we are about to submit the draft text to the European parliamentarians in the days coming. The idea is to push this through between now and December, in other words, before the French presidency draws to an end.
The second project I would like to commit to during the presidency – you have to prioritize – is that of homophobia so that certain governments renounce penalizing homosexuals and homosexuality. There are 90 countries worldwide who penalize homosexuality and six who actually apply the death penalty to homosexuals.
My preferred method is to prioritize collaboration with NGOs, not just in drafting the texts but also in identifying the most effective strategy. A draft declaration will be presented in December at the UN Assembly and I trust that we will be able to rely on help from a large number of governments in addressing this subject which remains taboo in many countries.