World

UN human rights chief condemns violent reactions across West Asia

PTI United Nations | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on September 15, 2012

The UN Human Rights Chief has strongly condemned the violent reactions across West Asia to a film deemed offensive to Islam, asking people not to give publicity to the “malicious and deliberately provocative” movie.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she understands the need of the people to protest against the movie but stressed that the protests should be peaceful in nature.

“The film is malicious and deliberately provocative and portrays a disgracefully distorted image of Muslims,” Pillay said in a statement.

“I fully understand why people wish to protest strongly against it, and it is their right to do so peacefully,” she said.

Pillay voiced strong condemnation to the killings in Benghazi, and other violent and destructive reactions to the film, urging religious and political leaders to make their best efforts to restore calm.

The protests against the movie have spread to over 15 countries across the world, especially in West Asia.

Pillay condemned the murders of the US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other US consulate officials as well as the killings of others in the protests.

Noting that the film was the latest in a string of deliberately provocative acts targeting particular religions and their followers, several of which have led to similar violent reactions and killings, Pillay said sometimes the best way to deal with such provocations was to ignore them.

“Deliberate and obnoxious acts of this type should be deprived of the oxygen of publicity,” she said.

“As the Secretary-General has stated, the faultline is not between Muslim and non-Muslim societies,” she said, adding, “but between a small number of extremists on different sides, with a vested interest in stirring hostility and conflict”.

“It is deeply tragic and reprehensible that people who have nothing whatsoever to do with these disgraceful stunts should lose their lives to enraged mobs and extremists in countries such as Libya and Afghanistan,” Pillay said.

The UN Human Rights Chief noted that there is a legal framework, in particular Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which offers strong protective measures to all forms of expression, while at the same time giving States the possibility to impose restrictions that are provided by law and which are necessary for the respect of the rights and reputations of others.

In March 2011, the Human Rights Council passed a unanimous resolution that provided a comprehensive road map for a coordinated national and international effort to ensure that certain rights and freedoms are not misused to undermine other rights and freedoms.

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Published on September 15, 2012
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