Wire Service: AP
The U.N.'s top human-rights body approved a proposal by Muslims nations Thursday urging passage of laws around the world to protect religions from criticism.
The proposal put forward by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic countries — with the backing of Belarus and Venezuela — had drawn strong criticism from free-speech campaigners and liberal democracies.
A simple majority of 23 members of the 47-nation Human Rights Council voted in favor of the resolution. Eleven nations, mostly Western, opposed the resolution, and 13 countries abstained.
The resolution urges states to provide "protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general."
"Defamation of religions is the cause that leads to incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence toward their followers," Pakistan's ambassador Zamir Akram said.
"It is important to deal with the cause, rather than with the effects alone," he said.