Arabs, Muslims Battle West Over Free Speech at UN

April 2, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: DAWN

Wire Service: AP

Arab and Muslim countries defended on Tuesday a resolution they pushed through at the United Nations to have the body’s expert on free speech to report on individuals and news media for negative comments on Islam.

An amendment passed by the UN Human Rights Council on Friday directed the body’s expert on freedom of expression to report on people who abuse their free speech rights by espousing racial and religious discrimination.

Ambeyi Ligabo, a legal expert from Kenya, currently holds the post.

The measure, proposed by Egypt and Pakistan, was passed 32-0 with the support of Islamic, Arab and African nations on Friday. European nations and some other countries abstained.The United States, Canada and European countries criticised the role reversal for Kenyan legal expert Ambeyi Ligabo, who has reported to the global body on measures by dictatorships and repressive governments to restrict free speech.