Don`t fan hatred: UN chief on anti-Islam film

Last Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 13:33

United Nations: UN chief Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned those who fanned sentiments of hate in the name of an anti-Islam movie, saying freedom of expression should not be abused by people to "provoke or humiliate" the values and beliefs of others.

Emphasising that freedom of expression and assembly is a "fundamental" right and privilege of all people, Ban said this right should not be abused.

"My position is that freedom of expression, while it is a fundamental right and privilege, should not be abused by such people, by such a disgraceful and shameful act," the UN Secretary General told reporters here when asked about the movie and the argument that its maker was exercising his right to freedom of expression.

The anti-Islam film has sparked violent protests across the world that has resulted in the deaths of several people, including that of US envoy to Libya Chris Stevens.

"All human beings have the inalienable right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly... Freedom of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose.

"When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others` values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way," Ban said.

He said similar kind of outrage and anger was expressed by people when cartoons of the Prophet were circulated.

"Now, it is very disgraceful and shameful that still people are provoking the values and beliefs of other people... This must stop. It is very important that all people around the world should have due respect and deeper understanding of the values and beliefs and tradition and history of other people and other groups of communities."

Ban said he strongly criticises the "senseless" people who "fan the flames of this intolerance and hatred using these kinds of opportunities."

With over 123 heads of state and foreign ministers slated to arrive here for the General Debate during the 67th session of the UN General Assembly next week, Ban said he would join the world leaders in speaking out "against those who, in response to such provocations, fan those flames further still."

He said the annual meeting of the world leaders takes place in the backdrop of widespread violence linked to intolerance and "it is time for calm, restraint and responsible political and community leadership."

Ban also said the deteriorating situation in Syria will be part of the main agenda of the high-level meetings.

He would also discuss the threat of nuclear terrorism and press for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

On Syria, Ban said it is crucial that the continuing violence must be stopped by both the government forces and the opposition.

He noted that Syria will be "at the top of every leader`s mind" at next week`s high-level debate.

He said whichever country has an influence on Syria should urge the parties to stop the violence and begin a political dialogue.

"I will appeal and urge the leaders that they should share a sense of collective responsibility" on Syria, he added.

The UN chief said he was also "increasingly troubled" by the rising tensions in East Asia between China and Japan over territorial issues.

He urged all concerned parties to resolve the disputes peacefully through dialogue and said efforts must be made to continue to build mutual trust and confidence to avoid tensions in the region.

He expressed hope that the Chinese and Japanese leaders would have the opportunity to meet each other at the General Assembly next week and to discuss the matter amicably and peacefully.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 13:18

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