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  1. #1
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    08.31.15 @ 02:01 PM
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    The U.S. vs. Free Speech at the U.N.

    Very disturbing, to say the least...

    You Can't Say That
    At the UN, the Obama administration backs limits on free speech.
    by Anne Bayefsky
    10/05/2009

    The Obama administration has marked its first foray into the UN human rights establishment by backing calls for limits on freedom of expression. The newly-minted American policy was rolled out at the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council, which ended in Geneva on Friday. American diplomats were there for the first time as full Council members and intent on making friends.

    President Obama chose to join the Council despite the fact that the Organization of the Islamic Conference holds the balance of power and human rights abusers are among its lead actors, including China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. Islamic states quickly interpreted the president's penchant for "engagement" as meaning fundamental rights were now up for grabs. Few would have predicted, however, that the shift would begin with America's most treasured freedom.

    For more than a decade, a UN resolution on the freedom of expression was shepherded through the Council, and the now defunct Commission on Human Rights which it replaced, by Canada. Over the years, Canada tried mightily to garner consensus on certain minimum standards, but the "reformed" Council changed the distribution of seats on the UN's lead human rights body. In 2008, against the backdrop of the publication of images of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper, Cuba and various Islamic countries destroyed the consensus and rammed through an amendment which introduced a limit on any speech they claimed was an "abuse . . . [that] constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination."

    The Obama administration decided that a revamped freedom of expression resolution, extracted from Canadian hands, would be an ideal emblem for its new engagement policy. So it cosponsored a resolution on the subject with none other than Egypt--a country characterized by an absence of freedom of expression.

    Privately, other Western governments were taken aback and watched the weeks of negotiations with dismay as it became clear that American negotiators wanted consensus at all costs. In introducing the resolution on Thursday, October 1--adopted by consensus the following day--the ranking U.S. diplomat, Chargé d'Affaires Douglas Griffiths, crowed: "The United States is very pleased to present this joint project with Egypt. This initiative is a manifestation of the Obama administration's commitment to multilateral engagement throughout the United Nations and of our genuine desire to seek and build cooperation based upon mutual interest and mutual respect in pursuit of our shared common principles of tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."

    His Egyptian counterpart, Ambassador Hisham Badr, was equally pleased--for all the wrong reasons. He praised the development by telling the Council that "freedom of expression . . . has been sometimes misused," insisting on limits consistent with the "true nature of this right" and demanding that the "the media must . . . conduct . . . itself in a professional and ethical manner."

    The new resolution, championed by the Obama administration, has a number of disturbing elements. It emphasizes that "the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities . . ." which include taking action against anything meeting the description of "negative racial and religious stereotyping." It also purports to "recognize . . . the moral and social responsibilities of the media" and supports "the media's elaboration of voluntary codes of professional ethical conduct" in relation to "combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."
    Pakistan's Ambassador Zamir Akram, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, made it clear that they understand the resolution and its protection against religious stereotyping as allowing free speech to be trumped by anything that defames or negatively stereotypes religion. The idea of protecting the human rights "of religions" instead of individuals is a favorite of those countries that do not protect free speech and which use religion--as defined by government--to curtail it.

    Even the normally feeble European Union tried to salvage the American capitulation by expressing the hope that the resolution might be read a different way. Speaking on behalf of the EU following the resolution's adoption, French Ambassador Jean-Baptiste Mattéi declared that "human rights law does not, and should not, protect religions or belief systems, hence the language on stereotyping only applies to stereotyping of individuals . . . and not of ideologies, religions or abstract values. The EU rejects the concept of defamation of religions." The EU also distanced itself from the American compromise on the media, declaring that "the notion of a moral and social responsibility of the media" goes "well beyond" existing international law and "the EU cannot subscribe to this concept in such general terms."

    In 1992 when the United States ratified the main international law treaty which addresses freedom of expression, the government carefully attached reservations to ensure that the treaty could not "restrict the right of free speech and association protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States."

    The Obama administration's debut at the Human Rights Council laid bare its very different priorities. Threatening freedom of expression is a price for engagement with the Islamic world that it is evidently prepared to pay.

  2. #2
    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    02.18.16 @ 03:10 PM
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    This whole thing is disgusting. We should be doing everything we can to expand these rights, not diminish them.

  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! Wickett's Avatar
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    07.19.17 @ 06:30 AM
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    reading that gave me the chills.. It reads like the beginning of a George Orwell book.
    Don't drink the Jim Jones punch. They're called theToxic Twins for a reason...

  4. #4
    Sinner's Swing! graeme's Avatar
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    "French Ambassador Jean-Baptiste Mattéi declared that "human rights law does not, and should not, protect religions or belief systems, hence the language on stereotyping only applies to stereotyping of individuals . . . and not of ideologies, religions or abstract values. The EU rejects the concept of defamation of religions." The EU also distanced itself from the American compromise on the media, declaring that "the notion of a moral and social responsibility of the media" goes "well beyond" existing international law and "the EU cannot subscribe to this concept in such general terms."

    Exactly. The EU would not sign up to this garbage idea. I don't think it will have any general agreement and will hopefully fizzle away where it belongs.
    A man could lose himself in a country like this.

    My blog at http://tollins.blogspot.de/

  5. #5
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 08:25 PM
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    highly predictable biased article from Bayefsky. Anyone who knows her history will see right through this rag.

  6. #6
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    02.18.16 @ 03:10 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    highly predictable biased article from Bayefsky. Anyone who knows her history will see right through this rag.
    It did seem a little biased. Fact is, the U.N. does want to curb free speech. The Islamic countries for sure are pushing hard to have any speech against religion be hate speech. Let me see if I can look up the resolution on the table that does that so I can post the actual language.

  7. #7
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownnation View Post
    It did seem a little biased. Fact is, the U.N. does want to curb free speech. The Islamic countries for sure are pushing hard to have any speech against religion be hate speech. Let me see if I can look up the resolution on the table that does that so I can post the actual language.
    If one muslim is happy with anything, Bayefsky will be against it. That's her history. She's from Toronto - politically active people know her game.

  8. #8
    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    If one muslim is happy with anything, Bayefsky will be against it. That's her history. She's from Toronto - politically active people know her game.
    Fine. This one's true though. Members of the U.N. do want to curtail free speech. Here's a nice summary of the history of one of the resolutions that has favor in the U.N. to stamp out free speech. Written from Islamic proponents of the resolution:

    http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/combating_defamation_of_religions/


    Your own country is taking dangerous stances on free speech also with the Human Rights Tribunals. It's scary stuff.

  9. #9
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 08:25 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownnation View Post
    Fine. This one's true though. Members of the U.N. do want to curtail free speech. Here's a nice summary of the history of one of the resolutions that has favor in the U.N. to stamp out free speech. Written from Islamic proponents of the resolution:

    http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/combating_defamation_of_religions/


    Your own country is taking dangerous stances on free speech also with the Human Rights Tribunals. It's scary stuff.
    didn't read it all, but from what i read it's doesn't sound so dangerous. What's the problem that u have with it?

  10. #10
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 08:25 PM
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    as far as our Human Rights Tribunals - what started off as a good idea has gotten out of hand at times. I like the concept, we might need to revisit how it works in practice.

  11. #11
    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    02.18.16 @ 03:10 PM
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    I suppose that's where you and I disagree. I don't believw its a good idea for governments to set up tribunals about the thoughts and speech of citizens. I don't think it's a good idea that the UN encourages countries of the world to limit free speech with special consideration to religion (especially Islam). These are the seeds of totalitarian ideology, and humans should not sit around and allow our rights be usurped by constrictive regulation. It is harmful and will get worse if people don't stand up for human rights.

  12. #12
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownnation View Post
    I suppose that's where you and I disagree. I don't believw its a good idea for governments to set up tribunals about the thoughts and speech of citizens. I don't think it's a good idea that the UN encourages countries of the world to limit free speech with special consideration to religion (especially Islam). These are the seeds of totalitarian ideology, and humans should not sit around and allow our rights be usurped by constrictive regulation. It is harmful and will get worse if people don't stand up for human rights.
    yes, this would be a major point of disagreement between us. I have no issue limiting free speech where it's hate speech. Now, I often disagree with where the line is drawn but i have no issues with groups being protected against their religion, race, etc being portrayed in a way that is hateful. Don't be a big mouth bigot in the press and you shouldn't have a problem with the rules as I would lay them out.

  13. #13
    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    Yep. That's a huge difference between us.good thing we're allowed to think our own way. For now.

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by It's Mike View Post
    yes, this would be a major point of disagreement between us. I have no issue limiting free speech where it's hate speech. Now, I often disagree with where the line is drawn but i have no issues with groups being protected against their religion, race, etc being portrayed in a way that is hateful. Don't be a big mouth bigot in the press and you shouldn't have a problem with the rules as I would lay them out.
    wow...you know Mike, I think about your opinions on things like this, and I think of mine, and I wonder exactly what shaped our own individual beliefs about this sort of thing. You and I couldn't be further off on this one. I wonder why that is...could it be the countries we've grown up in? Could it be the types of things we studied or the people we've known in our lives?
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  15. #15
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken9500 View Post
    wow...you know Mike, I think about your opinions on things like this, and I think of mine, and I wonder exactly what shaped our own individual beliefs about this sort of thing. You and I couldn't be further off on this one. I wonder why that is...could it be the countries we've grown up in? Could it be the types of things we studied or the people we've known in our lives?
    this is how i look at government in a nutshell Broken. We pay them a pretty substantial amount of money. For that money I expect alot but chief among them i expect them to deliver quality services in key areas of my life (police, fire, health care, education, etc) and I expect them to serve as my protector against enemies inside and out of the country. As part of that protection I don't want people calling for say the elimination of a group of people - eg if a magazine ran articles calling for the murder of all gay men, I don't think they should be able to hide behind free speech. I think with rights come certain responsiblities. Your happiness (having the right to speak freely) should not be used to ruin my life or the life of others.

 

 

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