Posted on | October 17, 2012 by Stefano Gennarini, J.D. |
Yesterday morning the President of the 67th session of the General Assembly, Mr. Vuk Jeremić, surprised the third committee of the GA, which addresses economic, social and humanitarian affairs, with a highly unusual request – he asked the committee to take the lead in condemning hate speech, saying that the “General Assembly should take action.”
What was even more surprising is that he referred specifically to the youtube video that has been blamed for the recent unrest in the middle east, and the death of a US diplomat and two US security staff in Libya. He referred to it as having “no value.”
Mr. Jeremić spoke of the situation of unrest that resulted as an “abuse of freedom of speech”.
He asked the third committee to work towards consensus in condemning hate speech, which he said, “should not be tolerated”, and that a “strong political message (is) needed given the circumstances.” He added, “I do appreciate the sensitivities – but at the end of the day, the 3d committee has the ability to exercise leadership.”
This request comes on the heels of the “Istanbul Process”. A diplomatic effort of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to build international consensus against religious defamation. The United States took part in a Conference that launched the initiative last December.