Pillay: Hatred, free speech don't mix

Oct. 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A top human rights official said from U.N. headquarters that world leaders need to find ways to ensure freedom of expression doesn't equate to violence.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said there are signs of growing tensions between freedom of expression and religion.

"I have publicly regretted or condemned various displays of religious hatred or bigotry and have also consistently urged religious and political leaders to condemn the violence, including the loss of life that has taken place in reaction to such incidents in various parts of the world," she said.

Opposition in the Middle East and North Africa to an anti-Islamic film produced in the United States turned violent, sparking widespread travel warnings and advisories from the U.S. government.

Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung Wha-kang told officials in Morocco this week that incidents like last month's attack in Libya in which a U.S. ambassador was killed have sounded "alarm bells about the level of hatred and cynicism that has permeated the minds of thoughtless or extremist elements in societies."

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