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Russia FM reminds advocacy of national or religious hatred against international law

January 21, 2015, 14:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian foreign minister commented on the recent tensions over Prophet Muhammad caricatures saying the international law has restrictions on the freedom of speech
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seen during his news conference

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seen during his news conference

© EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. Moscow reminds amid the recent tensions over Prophet Muhammad caricatures that the international law has restrictions on the freedom of speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on Wednesday.

“There are several aspects of the situation. First, terrorism is not acceptable in any forms regardless of the motives and disguise. This is an international legal stance which is confirmed in many UN Security Council resolutions,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov said that his personal opinion is that caricatures are “tasteless.”

He reminded that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) signed in 1966 states that any advocacy of national or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence should be banned by law.

The pact says that the right for the free expression of opinion bears special responsibility and can have certain restrictions which should be established by the law and need to be respected.

“When my respected colleagues tell me that there are no restrictions for the freedom of speech, I do not agree with this,” he added.

Tensions have been running high among the Muslim community after French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo decided to publish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. This resulted in a January 7 attack on the headquarters of the magazine in Paris, which killed 12 people. The related attacks near the French capital left five people dead.

In Russia, more than one million people attended a rally in Chechnya’s capital Grozny on Monday against insulting religious feelings. The demonstration, called Love for the Prophet Muhammad, came in defence of the Islamic values. The participants came to voice their protest against the caricatures.

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