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Thursday, September 24, 2009 - 05.21 GMT

Freedom of expression should not lead to hatred and enmity
- Govt.


Freedom of expression should not lead to support for utterances that promote hatred and enmity, without attention to questions of evidence or credibility, said Prof Rajiva Wijesinha Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights at the Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday (23).

He was referring to the issue of Freedom of Expression and said "The issue of Freedom of Expression, which we all see as one of the most important Rights we should encourage and protect. We were struck by the presentation of the distinguished representative from Norway, who noted its importance but commented that this freedom had to be limited in the case of incitements to hatred. Unfortunately what constitutes such incitement is not easy to distinguish, he added.

The Secretary spoke about the impact of freedom of expression when exercised without responsibility and said some time back we were astonished when International Educational Development Inc made a passionate defence of the use of children over 14 in combat. Such statements could be defended in terms of the right to freedom of expression, but when such wicked ideas are translated into practice it is the vulnerable who suffer.

He also said thus we found it deeply depressing that those members of the international community functioning in areas controlled by terrorists kept quiet about the fact that the Tigers recruited first one, and then even a second, member of each family. But it would seem that the ruthlessness of terrorists was enough of a barrier then to the free expression that might have saved children, whilst conversely those who advocated child recruitment could propagate their wicked ways even in this august assembly.

"Conversely, whilst upholding the right to free expression, we should be careful about encouraging downright falsehoods. Sadly the historic basis of European morality, the Ten Commandments, now seems to have gone by the board. Despite the experience of the horror of witch hunts, the bearing of false witness seems to be positively encouraged, especially against those who seem distant or easily bothered," the Secretary said.





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Last modified: September 24, 2009.

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