hate speech

Addressing Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws in Muslim Societies

Dear UN NGO Committee on FoRB and interested colleagues,

This month, our friends at Muslims for Progressives Values will be hosting an in-person event on Apostasy and Blasphemy in Washington, DC. Here’s the event summary:

The practice of criminalizing the religious beliefs of others through apostasy and blasphemy legislation violates the fundamental teachings of Islam as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines the right to freedom of religion, belief, and thought to all individuals. 

Clearly, this issue is transnational as we’ve witnessed in the stabbing of Salman Rushdie. While he is one of the more prominent victims, there are many more unnamed victims. The two-hour forum will begin with an introduction to social, historical and religious contexts of apostasy and blasphemy laws in Muslim Societies. It will be followed by an interactive workshop with tools to delink these harsh laws from Islam, inculcating a culture of human rights, and overcoming hateful social media campaigns directed at human rights advocates.

 

Here’s the event page with the concept note, outline of the program and speakers. To register, please click here.

Event Location: Rayburn 2060, Capitol Hill, Washington DC

Please visit our Freedom of Religion and Belief page for a comprehensive overview of our work in this field.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, please visit unforb.org. For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@yahoo.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns/NY, please visit csvgc-ny.org

Human Rights in older age: Towards the elimination of ageism and age discrimination

Join us for a special side event of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council on Tuesday 21 September 14:00 Geneva time.

Ageism is a global phenomenon, which has serious consequences for individuals and society at large. According to the UN Global Report on Ageism, half of the world’s population is ageist against older persons. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light entrenched ageism and age discrimination in many areas including hate speech in public discourse and on social media. Despite its scale and harmful impacts, ageism remains largely unknown and is often considered more acceptable compared to other forms of discrimination.

The report of the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons to the 48th session of the HRC (A/HRC/48/53), examines ageism and age discrimination, analyses their possible causes and manifestations, and reviews the way the existing legal and policy frameworks at the international and regional levels protects older persons against ageism and age-discrimination.

This side event of the 48th session will bring to the fore real-life experiences of ageism and age discrimination faced by older persons and will take stock of the Independent Expert’s conclusions and recommendations with the aim to discuss strategies to address and prevent ageism and age discrimination and to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons.

Register here: hrworg.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wOy7GGkqQgaaACt38yJb9Q

Event will also be webcast live on https://media.un.org/en/webtv/

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-NY, please visit ngocoa-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Geneva, please visit ageingcommitteegeneva.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Ageing-Vienna, please visit ngoageingvie.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com. 

Elder Abuse Awareness Day: The Impact of COVID-19 on Violence, Abuse, & Neglect of Older Persons

Virtual Event
Tuesday, 16 June 2020 at 08:00-09:00 EST (NY), 14:00-15:00 CET (Geneva)

Registration is required. REGISTER HERE

The UN General Assembly designated 15 June as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (res. A/RES/66/127).  According to WHO estimates, 1 in 6 people aged over 60 suffers from abuse. That means nearly 141 million people globally. This number might be much higher as elder abuse is one of the most hidden and underreported violations. 

COVID-19 has put a spotlight on older persons including distressing reports of instances of abuse and neglect of older persons in long term care institutions. Not only older persons are at a high risk of serious illness and mortality, but they are also stigmatized through abusive language in both the conventional and social media. 

Despite the lack of reliable data on the actual scale of elder abuse in the community where the majority of older persons live, emerging reports reveal the high impact of the COVID-19 pandemic both in the rise of cases of abuse and in the disruption of the services and protective measures.

The UN Secretary-General in his Policy Brief: The Impact of Covid-19 on Older Persons warned that measures to restrict movement may trigger greater incidence of violence against older persons and all types of abuse – physical, emotional, financial and sexual as well as neglect. He also claimed that the lack of adequate legislation at national level to protect the rights of older persons and the absence of a dedicated internationally agreed legal framework, contribute to the vulnerability of older persons and may have contributed to the inadequate responses to the COVID-19 crisis and that these gaps must be filled.  

There is an urgent need to combat and prevent this serious human rights violation. Many Member States’ delegations at sessions of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing expressed the need to develop universally applicable normative standards for the protection of older persons against violence, neglect and abuse, which would contribute to providing a comprehensive response and would also provide guidance for the development of a reporting, accountability and remedy mechanism for such violations suffered by older persons.

Verbal abuse and hate speech: Do they lead to other types of abuse? When do under or/and over-protection become abuse? Have lockdowns increased the risk of financial exploitation. What are examples of passive and active neglect?

Opening words by H.E. Mr. Alejandro Verdier, Deputy Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN in NY
Panelists:

  • Ms Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons
  • Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the department of Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization: WHO’s new guidance on elder abuse and COVID-19
  • Jillenne Gunther, AARP Bank Safe: Fighting financial exploitation
  • Michael S. Mulvey, University of Ottawa: Tracing an outbreak of ageist discourse in social media

Co-Moderators: Amal Rafeh (UN DESA) and Monica Ferro (UNFPA)

The panel will be followed by a session of questions and answers with the audience.

Register here

Support for this program provided by Apple Bank and Hebrew Home
CoNGO Notes:
For more information on the NGO Committee of Ageing – NY, please visit ngocoa-ny.org.