53 HRC – Eritrea’s Statement on the Urgent debate on public acts of Incitement to Religious Hatred and the Burning of the Holy Koran
Eritrea has a rich history of religious tolerance, coexistence and harmony. Indeed, Christianity and Islam have coexisted in mutual respect and tolerance for the last 14 centuries.
The overarching aim in post independence Eritrea is also anchored on nation-building predicated on upholding of equal rights and opportunity that is enshrined in nation law. There is thus no exclusion, marginalization, preferences on the basis of religion, sex, ethnicity, etc. Eritrea shines as a peaceful, secular nation where religious freedom is guaranteed by law and respected by every citizen.
Eritrea thus rejects extremist ideas and actions that sow discord through radicalization and religious extremism. This trend disregards the respect of the inherent value system as well as respect and tolerance of the diverse religious constituencies. Disrespecting the sacred traditions, practices and holy books is thus irresponsible and unacceptable.
In the above context, the recent burning of the Holy Koran by the leader of the Danish hard line Party Rasmus Paludan that continued in many western cities constitutes as irresponsible act that defies peaceful coexistence and mutual respect among religions. It is also a provocative act especially occurring, as it did, during the Eid celebrations.
The position of some western countries in defence of the above intolerable act as “freedom of expression” is thus both untenable and irresponsible as the act also jeopardizes social harmony and international solidarity. It is also a violation of Article 20 of the ICCPR (International Convention on Civic and Political rights) that obligates all states to prohibit and enforce accountability on acts that constitute religious hatred and incitement to violence.
In line to the rational expounded abvoe, Eritrea supports the draft resolution at hand and calls on HRC members to uphold consensus during decision time as a basis of our future collective effort to the ideals of humanity.
I thank you Mr President!