UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last week expressed concern about free speech because sometimes it can be “used to provoke or humiliate.”
The UN has completely shown its true colours – it has declared itself a anti-freedom of expression organisation.
On the Department of Immigration and Citizenship we declare Australia has 5 fundamental Freedoms:
- Freedom of speech Australians are free, within the bounds of the law, to say or write what we think privately or publicly, about the government, or about any topic. We do not censor the media and may criticise the government without fear of arrest. Free speech comes from facts, not rumours, and the intention must be constructive, not to do harm. There are laws to protect a person’s good name and integrity against false information. There are laws against saying or writing things to incite hatred against others because of their culture, ethnicity or background. Freedom of speech is not an excuse to harm others.
- Freedom of association
We are free to join any organisation or group if it is legal. We can choose to belong to a trade union or to a political party. Having and debating points of view allows for a healthy and strong democracy.
- Freedom of assembly
We are free to meet with other people in public or private places. We can meet in small or large groups for legal social or political purposes. Being able to protest and to demonstrate is an accepted form of free expression. Protestors must not be violent or break laws such as assaulting others or trespassing on private or public property. People can change governments in a peaceful way by elections and not by violence.
- Freedom of religion Australia does not have an official or state religion. The law does not enforce any religious doctrine, however, religious practices must conform to the law. We are free to follow any religion we choose. We are also free not to have a religion
- Freedom of movement We can move freely to and from all states and territories. We can leave and return to Australia at any time. Some migrants may have conditions placed on their visa until they become Australian citizens.
In 1991, the Australian Law Reform Commission proposed the removal of all references to blasphemy in federal legislation. All that remains as a law against blasphemy is a prohibition against the registration of a ship which has a blasphemous name.
We must never again return to these laws or we will end up like Pakistan who are the most obvious example. Christians have been persecuted for decades under laws that allow the Muslim majority to attack the religious minority over allegations of defacing the Koran and insulting Muhammad.
Recently, a young Christian girl was accused of destroying the Koran. She was accused of blasphemy and imprisoned for three weeks. It has now been revealed that an Islamic cleric burned pages of a Koran himself and framed the girl for the crime. The Catholic minister for minority affairs was assassinated last year after criticising the country’s blasphemy laws.
And it’s now countries like Pakistan that are pushing for blasphemy laws to be implemented around the globe. Political leaders from Egypt and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference have also spoken out in favour of international blasphemy laws. Momentum for these restrictions is being driven in the context of a worldwide backlash to a stupid but utterly amateur film criticising Islam, however it is peoples choice as to whether they watch the film, that is what our Freedoms ensure.
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has said in response: “We would go to the UN and OIC and get a law passed to stop anti-Islam activities, including blasphemy, forever.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had this staggering addition: “Freedom of thought and belief ends where the freedom of thought and belief of others starts.”
This revelation is extremely concerning. Turkey’s political power is potent – it currently heads the OIC. This is alarming because it is voting blocs like the OIC that will use their influence in the UN to push for blasphemy laws and decide which expressions will be outlawed.
The UN’s push for the criminalisation of blasphemy perfectly exemplifies what an artefact the organisation has become. It is a soapbox for extremists and bigots and its orthodoxy should be dismissed as such.
It’s weird that Australia would want a seat at the table of such an illiberal organisation. Yet Prime Minister Julia Gillard is in New York all this week arguing for just that – she wants Australia to occupy one of the non-permanent UN Security Council seats.
We should abandon the attempt. The UN should be left to the extremists and bigots who want to crush freedom of speech through relics like blasphemy laws.
This is a boon for communism, it is setting the fanaticism of Islam against Christian values, neither of which they care about, however, in the end they are looking at a easy convert of the losers to Communism. Our world is being changed and the UN is merely a weapon for this change, it is time to dissolve the UN as they have no relevant purpose any longer.