Historic consensus on freedoms of religion and expression at risk, say UN experts

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“On the 10th anniversary of Resolution 16/18, we welcome the Human Rights Council consensus around the issue of fostering freedom of religion or belief, reaffirming freedom of opinion and expression and combating advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

Resolution 16/18 is remarkable for its eight action points that commit all States to take specific measures at the national level in policy, law and practice, to address intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief and its root causes. These measures include building collaborative networks; creating mechanisms to identify tensions; encouraging training of government officials in effective outreach strategies; discussing root causes of discrimination; speaking out against hatred; criminalising incitement to imminent violence; combating negative stereotyping of persons through education and awareness building; and promoting open debate as well as interfaith dialogue.