India’s U.N. Human Rights Council vote for desecration of sacred books

Context
Recently, India has voted in favour of a draft resolution tabled in the UN Human Rights Council that condemns and strongly rejects recent “public and premeditated” acts of desecration of the Holy Quran.
  • The UN Human Rights Council adopted the draft resolution ‘Countering religious hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence’, with 28 members voting in favour, seven abstentions and 12 nations voting against.
About the resolution:
  • The draft resolution was brought by Pakistan on “behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation” as well as by the State of Palestine.
  • The draft resolution “condemns and strongly rejects the recent public and premeditated acts of desecration of the Holy Quran, and underscores the need for holding the perpetrators of these acts of religious hatred to account in line with obligations of States arising from international human rights law”.
  • Those voting in favour of the resolution included Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Qatar, Ukraine and UAE.
  • Nations voting against the resolution included Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.
What was the resolution asked for?
  • It urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and all relevant special procedures of the Human Rights Council, within their respective mandates, to “speak out against advocacy of religious hatred, including acts of desecration of sacred books that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and contribute to the process of examination of gaps in national laws, policies and practices and recommend redressal measures”.
  • It called upon States to examine their national laws, policies and law enforcement frameworks with a view to identifying gaps that may impede the prevention and prosecution of acts and advocacy of religious hatred that constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, and to take immediate steps to plug those gaps.
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC):
  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.
  • Formation:
    • The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
    • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council.
    • OHCHR is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Members:
    • It is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
    • The Council’s Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution. Seats are distributed as follows:
    • African States: 13 seats
    • Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats
    • Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats
    • Western European and other States: 7 seats
    • Eastern European States: 6 seats
    • Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

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