UN rights body gives posts to "unfree" countries

GENEVA Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:43pm EST

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GENEVA Dec 10 (Reuters) - Mauritania and Maldives, which both permit citizens who renounce Islam to be sentenced to death, were on Monday elected as vice-presidents of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2013.

Poland was chosen to chair the council next year with Ecuador and Switzerland named as the other vice-presidents of 47 member body. Mauritania and Maldives were elected as representatives of their regional council groupings.

Earlier on Monday, the rights records of Mauritania and Maldives, where an elected president and former political prisoner was ousted early this year in what he says was a hard-line coup, came under fire from a global free-thought body.

In a report detailing persecution and discrimination faced by atheists and humanists around the world, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), said both impose Islam as the sole religion of the state.

Mauritania, the report said, outlaws apostasy, or the renunciation of the official religion for another or for a philosophy that does not recognise the existence of a deity.

Anyone found guilty of the offence is given the opportunity to repent within three days, according to the report. If this is not done, the offender is sentenced to death and his property is confiscated by the state.

The report, which was welcomed by the U.N. special investigator on freedom of religion and belief Heiner Bielefeldt, says in Maldives "the constitution and other laws do not permit freedom of religion or belief".

The report recorded two cases in 2010 in which Maldivians who declared publicly they could not believe in Islam or any other religion were told they would face death if they did not renounce their views.

One subsequently declared after special education he accepted Islam and the other committed suicide after writing a note saying he had been foolish to reveal his stance on religion to workmates, the report said.

The report said atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world. They can be executed if their beliefs become known in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, as well as Mauritania and Maldives. (Reported by Robert Evans; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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Comments (3)
raajjenews wrote:
This is totally untrue. Maldives never behead or give death penalty to any one who change releigion. Always tried to convince him that he should be a muslim since constitution of Maldives says Maldivian citizens are Muslims only.. so reuter reporter has gives a untrue and false accustion to the Maldives. This is not press freedom

Dec 10, 2012 11:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
raajjenews wrote:
why u are not adding my comment

Dec 12, 2012 12:49am EST  --  Report as abuse
raajjenews wrote:
Maldives does not kill apostates- Sheikh Mohamed Didi

tate Minister of Ministry of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Didi has said that some international news agencies has been making unfound statements regarding the punishment implemented in the Maldives upon apostates.

In an interview to Miadhu Daily, Minister Mohamed Didi said that Maldives has never implemented or sentenced any apostate to death. He said that if there is a known case of any Maldivian leaving the religion of Islam then the government tries to give him counsel.

“It is done as such because Maldivian people are Muslims and the constitution is very clear that all Maldivians are muslim,” he said.

Sheikh Mohamed Didi noted that Maldives has always taken a moderate approach in issues of Islamic relevance.

“In every nation their respected constitution are revered and obeyed. The constitution should be obeyed by the locals and also visiting foreigners. This is not something unique only to Maldives. Is not this how it is carried out in foreign airports,” he said.

Dec 12, 2012 12:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
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