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UN says blasphemy is a human right according to Filipino Freethinkers
Published on: Aug 15, 2011 - 9:15am

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(SPOT.ph) In the heat of the "Kulo" exhibit controversy, the Filipino Freethinkers, an organization of atheists, said that a United Nations law “affirms the superiority of the right to free speech over the so-called right against blasphemy," reports GMA News. The Filipino Freethinkers raised this point in an article on their website, "UN Affirms Blasphemy as a Human Right" written by Garrick Bercero.

 

In its General Comment No. 34 on Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) dictates that “prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with the Covenant." As a member of the UN, the Philippines is obliged to comply with its laws, pointed out Bercero.

 

But while the UNHRC paves for provisions regarding freedom of expression, it also restricts speech that goes against “the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health and morals," and “any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence." Bercero, however, clarified this statement vis-a-vis the "Kulo" situation. “The right to free speech is not absolute, yes, but it is abridged only by the risk of actual harm. Offense does not constitute real harm, according to our current understanding of the word," he said, adding that it was the artist Mideo Cruz and Cultural Center of the Philippines officials who received death threats.

 

Meanwhile, other "Kulo" supporters are clamoring for the exhibit's reopening, reports a separate GMA News story. "Kulo" was closed on August 8 following death threats and vandalism. In a statement, the University of the Philippines' Department of Studies wrote: "The closure of an exhibition only achieved the closure of democratic, informed and thoughtful engagement." The department is calling to re-open "Kulo" in an attempt to defend freedom of expression.

 

For more on this story, log on to GMA News, the Filipino Freethinkers website, and the United Nations' website.

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17 Comments
  • bonifacio
    simple lang naman ang diskusyon d ito e ITS ALL ABOUT RESPECT!!! Yung TARANTADONG MIDEO CRUZ na yan e WALANG RESPETO SA MGA BAGAY NA SAGRADO SA IBANG TAO! KUNG ME BAYAG YANG SI MIDEO CRUZ BAKIT DI NYA GAWIN YAN SA MGA MUSLIM AT TINGNAN KO LANG KUNG DI MAPUGUTAN NG ULO YAN AT PAKAIN SA KANYA YUNG PENIS NA GINAMIT NYA SA PAMBABABOY SA TINAGURIAN NYANG WORK OF ART!
    Aug 21 2011 @ 05:51pm     Reply  
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  • @blackman
    wala ka talagang sariling opinyon. basta gawa o applied sa US maganda, iidolohin mo na. masyado kang bilib na bilib sa bansa kahit ang 7th leading cause of death ng mga lalaki ay suicide. ang ganda pala talaga sa US.
    Aug 21 2011 @ 10:35am     Reply  
  • jesuswasablackman
    @no to talibans. Unfortunately, this is not the US
    Aug 19 2011 @ 09:21pm     Reply  
  • john
    Yes Indeed, "Blasphemy" or what you call it is also a right. Blasphemy nowadays is considered by people as going against the Church. Imagine if everyone was following the same institution as the Church. Believe me, execution against those who Antagonize the church will be legal, also torture. Yes it happened during earlier times google "Inquisition" and Galileo Galilei was a victim, he was prosecuted by stating that the Sun revolves around the Earth in contrary to the Catholic Belief that the Earth is the Center of the solar system. That's why we need Heretics, so that someone will wake others up when there's something wrong.
    Aug 19 2011 @ 11:04am     Reply  
  • cram22
    "It is more presumptuous for a person to put his judgment above that of the others and try to make it prevail over theirs. It is more presumptuous and even BLASPHEMOUS for a person to attribute every movement of his lips to God, to represent every whim of his as the will of God, and to brand his own enemy as an enemy of God." Guess who said that? Dr. Jose Rizal, in his letter to the young women of Malolos in1889. It is unfortunate that a century and two scores later, people of this sort still exists. rnRight, fanboy?
    Aug 16 2011 @ 11:38am     Reply  
  • no to talibans
    On August 4, the art work was vandalized and there was an attempt to set fire to the exhibit. A Manny Andrada, identified as an author/businessman, sm*gly boasted on TV News 5 that he was the culprit and that if he chanced to see the artist, Mideo Cruz, he would maul him and break the wooden phallus that Cruz had attached to the image of Jesus Christ on the artist’s mouth. How very Christian. In the U.S., this is simply called harassment and the cops will be at his doorstep with 1 hour.rnrn
    Aug 16 2011 @ 01:05am     Reply  
  • lucifer
    I wonder what our pious CBCP and friends will say if they see pictures of supermodel Stephanie Seymour and her 19 year old son, kissing at a beach resort in the Carribean. To see the pics just type: Stephanie Seymour and son photos.
    Aug 15 2011 @ 03:16pm     Reply  
  • no to clerico-fascist regime
    @ mike, True. But these are different times. The extreme left is also out in the open whereas before, they just whisper their opposition to Church edict to one another's ears. This Church is saying that the art is offensive to the majority. It is the same Church that is silent when the SWS releases its up-to-date survey which shows that a wide majority of Catholics prefer Reproductive Health choices to be made available to them. My problem are the clowns in the Senate and House of Representatives who will toe the Church line and not follow the wishes of their constitutents. If that happens, our citizens might as well live in Iran where at least the Ayatollahs are openly running the affairs of State.
    Aug 15 2011 @ 02:53pm     Reply  
  • mike
    What concerns me about the 'art attack' is that along with the banning of 'sexy signs' on Edsa it amounts to a very calculated, concerted campaign by extremists, both secular and robed, within the Catholic Church to 'reclaim lost ground' in the battle for hearts and minds over the RH bill. Clearly the arch conservatives have been put on the backfoot especially after the embarrassing Pajero incident (sorry is all that you can say?) and need to take steps to firmly reassert their demented view about the place of conservative Catholicism in the Philippines. With this 'victory' at the CCP they are, pardon the pun, 'cock-a-hoop' and I think you can safely kiss goodbye passage of the RH Bill in this Congress. Clearly politicians here live in utter fear of the consequences of raising the ire of the church. Boiled down, this country has just lost a very important battle to uphold the constitutional edict of separation of church and State.
    Aug 15 2011 @ 02:05pm     Reply  
  • tssst
    idol worship is wrong. ok?rn
    Aug 15 2011 @ 01:10pm     Reply  
  • fh
    It is a unique characteristic of art that it is at once self-defining and intractably subjective. What is art for one may be trash, vile, pornographic or crass to another. One of the traditional functions of art is to unsettle, disturb and even offend. If we had to subject the whole spectrum of artistic expression to the scrutiny of those who feel themselves qualified to be the supreme arbiters of morality, taste or propriety, I suspect many important works will soon find their way into the chopping block and their authors provided free lodgings in prison cells.rn
    Aug 15 2011 @ 01:03pm     Reply  
  • fanboy
    @polk...rnrnwhat shallow? I made the comparison of famiily because that is the closest you'll with regards to what/who is important.rnAnalogy is simple, do not elaborate and demonstrate hatred/discrimination and make fun of matters that are important to the others. To think that the "others" that we are talking about are the majority which are Roman Catholic/Christian people.rnrn@no bs pleasernrnwho is creating public discorder? when did demonstration of hate and making fun of others important matters become orderly?
    Aug 15 2011 @ 11:38am     Reply  
  • dito n lng
    di p ba tapos ito? dito n lng ata sa spot ito pinag-uusapan. can't we all just agree to disagree and move on?
    Aug 15 2011 @ 11:03am     Reply  
  • no bs please
    @ fanboy, what anarchy? It's obvious who is creating public disorder.
    Aug 15 2011 @ 11:02am     Reply  
  • polk, bush, taylor, and leaveworth llp
    @ fanboy, I will copy what I read in other comments, I don't entertain "magulang" retorts. That won't sell in any forum except MMK. It is as shallow as a polluted estero. Sorry.
    Aug 15 2011 @ 10:55am     Reply  
  • fanboy
    @polk,......rnrnare you serious? rndi mo ba nabasa to:rnrn""it also restricts speech that goes against “the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health and morals," and “any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence." ""rnrnmalinaw, it restricts free speeches from advocacy of 'religious hatred' that contitutes 'discrimination'...rnrnparang ganito lang yan, okay lang ba sayo na gawing katawa tawa ang picture ng mga magulang mo at ipangalandakan sa buong sambayanan?rnrnwhat you want with free speech will result into anarchy... walang batas kasi kahit anong gawin at sabihin pwede...
    Aug 15 2011 @ 10:25am     Reply  
  • polk, bush, taylor, and leaveworth llp
    It is CRYSTAL CLEAR. I don't know where the gray area is. In more civilized countries, thernSupreme Court steadfastly strikes down any legislation PROHIBITING BLASPHEMY, on the fear that even well-meaning censors would be tempted to favour one religion over another, as well asrnbecause it “is NOT THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT… to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine …”. Blasphemy laws are the anti-thesis of human rights. At a normative level, they establish arnhierarchy of beliefs that betrays the common understanding and intentions of the internationalrnhuman rights framework. Blasphemy laws are the Servants of Power and the means for religiousrnpersecution; they censor, they create a climate of fears, and they stifle artistic creativity, academicrnresearch, scholarship and freedom. The Senators are paid to be the champion of human rights in the Philippines. They have no business interfering in CCP affairs.rnrn
    Aug 15 2011 @ 10:12am     Reply  
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