Secretary Clinton: Adoption of Resolution 16/18 Countering Religious Intolerance a “Landmark Achievement”

Adoption of Resolution at Human Rights Council Combating Discrimination and Violence

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

March 24, 2011

Text of Resolution16-18

The United States welcomes today’s action by the UN Human Rights Council to further the international community’s efforts to combat religious intolerance. The consensus resolution adopted by the Council today represents a significant step forward in the global dialogue on countering intolerance, discrimination, and violence against persons based upon religion or belief. We appreciate the leadership shown by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and member states on today’s landmark achievement.

The United States strongly supports today’s resolution, which rejects the broad prohibitions on speech called for in the former “defamation of religions” resolution, and supports approaches that do not limit freedom of expression or infringe on the freedom of religion. This resolution demonstrates a desire to move the debate on these shared challenges in a constructive and affirmative direction. Our divides can be bridged through an effort to listen to each other and to seek common ground. This resolution is a direct result of this type of engagement with the global community.

Today’s adoption of this resolution by the UN Human Rights Council is an important statement that must be followed by sustained commitment. At a time when violence and discrimination against members of religious minorities is all too common, we urge the international community to continue to uphold the freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As I said last month in Geneva, we must support those who are willing to stand up on behalf of the rights we cherish.

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