Human Rights and the Defamation of Religions

For several years, various UN bodies have enacted resolutions condemning the "defamation of religions," arising from the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. This raises complex issues at the intersection of domestic and international law and policy. How do states conceptualize the relationship between freedom of speech, censorship, blasphemy laws, and the prohibition on defamation or hate speech? Can theological debate and criticism of religion be disentangled from defamatory and violence-inciting speech? In what way is "defamation of religion" a human rights issue? How has this debate played out at the international level—what actors and states support or oppose these resolutions and why? What is the future prospect for enacting stricter condemnations of the defamation of religion?
SCHEDULE

Welcome Remarks | Alex Aleinikoff

Introduction to the Issues | Abdullahi An-Na'im

Panel 1: Defamation of Religions at the State Level | Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Knox Thames, Angela Wu

Panel 2: International Human Rights in Tension | Abdullahi An-Na'im, José Casanova, Ted Piccone, Tad Stahnke

Keynote Address | Frank La Rue

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