Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Policing Brief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights

October 1, 2010

The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights is a special report published by Freedom House in October 2010 that argues against the promulgation of blasphemy laws, suggesting that these laws give rise to violations of human rights instead of protecting them. Freedom House maintains that some states abuse blasphemy laws to silence political opposition; individuals fabricate blasphemy charges to resolve petty disputes; religious extremists use blasphemy laws to justify attacks on religious minorities; and religious institutions use blasphemy laws to impose state-sanctioned interpretations of religious doctrine on members of minority sects. These points derive from analyses of laws in Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Poland, which the report identifies as case-study countries.

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