UN human rights council scolds Switzerland

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has severely condemned the ban on the construction of minarets within a resolution against the defamation of religion. Though Switzerland was not explicitly named, it is the only country in the world to have banned minarets. Consequently, this represents the first acknowledgement by the UN of the adoption of the Swiss minaret ban, and seems to confirm the fear of Swiss diplomats that Switzerland’s image in the world has suffered due to the ban.

The condemnation in the UNHRC was supported by the Pakistani mission to the UN, which has been fighting the alleged connection between Islam and violence before the UNHRC since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The EU states, as well as the United States and a number of Latin American states voted against the ban. Due to its observer status in the council Switzerland could not vote on the resolution, though it stated that protecting solely Islam was counter to the universal notion of human rights, while it also brought up the more fundamental problem already echoed by France: international law protects individual religious freedoms, but not belief systems as such.