« Militant Mettle | Main | Flying Penguins »

March 31, 2008



Forgive me, Mick, but how authoritative is this? Can this body modify the UDHR? How does it affect those countries who have ratified (I assume that is how it works) the UDHR? What weight does this vote have in International Law? As the OIC Cairo declaration is inimical to the UDHR, I assume that no OIC country has accepted or ratified the UDHR. I can well understand Mr Brown's outrage, but is he not tilting at windmills?

This would seem to leave the absurd position of those who have not accepted it changing it, leaving those who have with an unacceptable charter. The obvious position for any democracy is to denounce this vote and treat it with disdain. They should also withdraw their representatives and their funding from it. But they won't. They will continue the useless charade.

Truly bizarre.

Mick H

Well, if I understand this right, yes, they can - and have just managed to - modify the UDHR. This is an amendment to a resolution on freedom of expression that forms a part of the UDHR. This despite the fact, as you point out, that the OIC states support the Cairo Declaration, which isn't compatible with the UDHR.

As to the weight this carries in international law, I'm not sure. The "Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression" will now be required to report any infringements, according to this, but whether any sanctions would then be brought to bear on the guilty party isn't clear. But it's not a happy situation.


A stupid, backward move. Why am I not even remotely surprised?


What are the main concerns of Islam towards the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, why do they find it incompatible/biased?

Mick H

I think Article 18 of the UDHR is the main problem:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

Islam doesn't believe in fredom of religion, or freedom to change religion. Islam is deemed superior to other religions, so to them it makes no sense to want to change.

There's also the question of equal rights for women....


Would you agree mick, that asian countries have reasonable suspicion to see the UDHR as said by Said Rajaie-Khorassani, "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition" ?

Do you yourself think the UDHR is truly Universal?

Mick H

Well that's a bit of a large topic for a comment, but I don't think it's unreasonable to characterise the UDHR as a "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition". If that's the first round in an argument about Western imperialism, and respecting other cultures' viewpoints, then I'd say that, despite its origins, yes, the UDHR is truly universal. Freedom of conscience for instance may be originally a Western notion (I'm not sure that it is, but certainly it first gained political maturity in the West) but it applies - it should apply - universally.


is it right to say then currently...

That the UDHR has no effect in muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia as they believe in Sharia Law to over rule it?

and B) that the Islamic Declaration Human RIghts is basically another way of saying the Koran is law, thus SHariah law is dominant?

Mick H

Yes, I think that's about right.


Ok thanks Mick. Im currently writing a paper on whether the UDHR is universal or not , based on it's clashes with other Cultures, Religons and if it's gender biased or not.

If there are other valid points you can send my direction that would be much appreciated.

The comments to this entry are closed.