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HRC40: Danish statement for interactive dialogue with SR on Freedom of Religion or Belief

05.03.2019  12:21

UN Human Rights Council
40th Session
Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Statement by Denmark

Mr. President,
Denmark aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.
Denmark welcomes the work of the Special Rapporteur on sale and sexual exploitation of children, Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, as well as the latest thematic study on the sale and sexual exploitation of children in the context of sports.
Denmark also welcomes the latest report by Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed and strongly supports that freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression are mutually reinforcing when exercised within international human rights law.
Denmark takes a keen interest in the interrelationship between these two rights.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of persons and groups suffer from the abuse of restrictions under reference to blasphemy, “defamation of religion”, anti-apostasy, and public order. This confirms the need to address this in new ways, such as for instance the “Faith for Rights”-initiative.
Allow me to draw your attention to the six and a half years sentence given very recently to Mr. Dennis Christensen for as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses allegedly organising the activity of a banned extremist organisation.
In our view, using extremism laws in this way can be seen as an example of an unjustified restriction on the freedom of expression involving religion or belief, which effectively undermines the individual right of freedom for religion or belief.
Mr. Shaheed, could you share with us your thoughts on if and how extremism laws are used to restrict freedom of expression with regards to religion or belief?
I thank you.