There is a danger that New Zealanders, particularly young New Zealanders, travelling in other countries may unwittingly commit blasphemy in those countries and be arrested and subjected to imprisonment and other unreasonable penalties. As these countries use the existence of blasphemy law in a few remaining western countries as a justification for their own laws, retention of New Zealand’s blasphemy law puts all New Zealanders at risk while travelling.
It is hypocritical for New Zealand to argue that it supports Human Rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion and belief while it retains a law of blasphemous libel or denigration of religion.
It is difficult and even hypocritical for New Zealand or New Zealanders to represent such people and argue that laws in other countries are unreasonable and unjust while New Zealand retains very similar and very dubious laws. It is also hypocritical for New Zealand to argue that it supports Human Rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion and belief while it retains a law of blasphemous libel or denigration of religion.
Repeal of New Zealand’s blasphemy laws that include denigration of religion and blasphemous libel will enable New Zealand to argue without hypocrisy for Human Rights and against unreasonable laws in other countries.
A recent case where a Kiwi has suffered due to a blasphemy law abroad is Philip Blackwood. You can:
- read about Philip’s case on Stuff,
- find out the latest at the Free Philip Blackwood Facebook page
- or donate at Philip’s Givealittle page.
“It is ludicrous that these three men have been jailed simply for posting an image online to promote a bar. They should be immediately and unconditionally released.”
Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for South East Asia and the Pacific
Amnesty International condemned Blackwood’s sentence and called for the sentence to be overturned immediately, describing it in a statement as a “chilling indication of the growing climate of religious intolerance in the country”. “It is ludicrous that these three men have been jailed simply for posting an image online to promote a bar,” Amnesty International’s Rupert Abbott said.
- Read Amnesty’s press release.
- Read report on Stuff.
- Read Amnesty’s concern at religious discrimination in Myanmar.
- Read Amnesty’s report on another sad case in Myanmar.
There is considerable risk to New Zealanders travelling in countries that have blasphemy laws, just as there is considerable risk to the citizens of those countries.
For the latest news on the abuse of blasphemy laws in other countries click here.
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