PEN International Endorses Irish PEN Centre’s Campaign Against Ireland’s Blasphemy Laws

27 April 2011 : from  The Irish PEN website

PEN International strongly supports the repeal of Ireland’s Defamation Act of 2009 and an amendment to the Irish Constitution‘s requirement that blasphemy be prohibited under Irish law.

PEN is an organization whose members pledge to promote good understanding and mutual respect between nations and to do their utmost to dispel race, class and national hatreds. We deplore the distrust, disparagement or denigration of any individual based on her or his religious beliefs. We condemn discrimination, threats, harassment, or violence against individuals based on their religion and support national and international prohibitions against such actions. PEN and its member centers are engaged in activities and programs around the globe aimed at reducing religious hatreds and suspicions in the post-September 11, 2001 world.

“We are adamantly opposed to criminalizing speech considered insulting or offensive to religions,” states PEN International President, John Ralston Saul. “Religions are systems of ideas, embodied in institutions and sometimes states. As such, they cannot lie outside the bounds of questioning, criticism and description – the whole terrain of free expression“. Insult and blasphemy laws such as Ireland’s Defamation Act of 2009 clearly run counter to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and other international free expression protections. Moreover, they do little to advance the goal of promoting respect. “

Archive for the ‘Blasphemies’ Category

Related Links here

 http://www.irishpen.com/wordpress/2011/03/31/writers-hail-u-n-accord-ending-push-to-ban-blasphemy/

Article on Irish Blasphemy Laws Via the WiPC