Freedom House condemns blasphemy laws
Freedom House have published a paper, Policing Belief, studying the effects of blasphemy laws in several countries, including two EU members.
The study is designed to provide ammunition in the continuing campaign by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (representing 50-plus Islamic states) to get the UN to promote a global law against defaming religion (well, at least their religion, which is all they care about).
As the study concludes:
"The severity and range of abuses that can result from the application of domestic blasphemy laws should raise serious doubts about the prospect of a similar law at the international level. Such a law would legitimize its flawed national counterparts while working against the communal harmony they are supposedly designed to protect. Worse still, it would insert into the international human rights framework a concept that essentially turns human rights upside down, restricting the speech and actions of men and women for the sake of disembodied ideas as such, and replacing equality and the rule of law with deference to religious orthodoxy and subjective feelings of outrage. An internal contradiction of this magnitude would cripple international human rights law as a whole and leave little recourse to victims of persecution around the world."