High U.N. Official Calls Free Speech a ‘Gift’

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The United Nations would have us forget all about the idea of inalienable rights with which all individuals are endowed by their Creator. The UN wants us to forget the idea that government was established for the purpose of securing these rights, not to create them with the power to take them away. Such ideas are so old-fashioned, after all.  The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, were written in the eighteenth century.  The United Nations believes it has a much more modern idea.

Free speech is a “gift given to us by the [Universal] Declaration of Human Rights,” said Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson during a press conference on October 2nd at UN headquarters in New York.  It is “a privilege,” Eliasson said, “that we have, which in my view involves also the need for respect, the need to avoid provocations.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a set of normative principles adopted by a majority of the member states of the UN.  It gave rise to legally enforceable UN human rights treaties that embodied its core principles, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Under Deputy Secretary General Eliasson’s logic, the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which gave us the “gift” of free speech, can be modified or interpreted in such a way that would restrict its use if people were deemed too provocative or irresponsible in what they express.

It’s no leap at all from this premise to the conclusion that statements, cartoons, videos and other forms of expression that offend a religious faith’s sensibilities and provoke them to violence – especially Muslim believers in the superiority of their faith, whom are easily provoked – is an unacceptable misuse of the “gift.”

In an apparent bow to the Muslim world’s reaction regarding the video insulting Prophet Mohammed, Eliasson said:

[W]e understand you, that you were provoked, that it was an absolutely unnecessary, stupid way of causing even more hatred among you. And when you run on the streets and people are killed and buildings are burned down, those who provoke have succeeded. We shouldn’t fall in that trap of provocation, so that’s the line I think we’ll take.

Eliasson’s boss Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said last month that using “freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs” was not worthy of protection. Rather, Ban Ki-moon indicated that such freedom only deserved protection when “used for common justice, common purpose.”

At first glance, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights appears to be fully consistent with the values enshrined in our Bill of Rights rather than the more restrictive interpretation of the right of free speech put forth by Ban Ki-moon and Jan Eliasson.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sounds good to believers in the First Amendment:  “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

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  • oldtimer

    Free speech is not a Gift, it's a Right given to all people BY GOD!!!! Get the US out of the UN and the UN out of the US….

  • davarino

    I dont recognise the UN so they can go F themselves. I will keep my free speech rights thank you, whether the UN decides to offer it as a gift or not. Oh ya, and islam is a gutter cult dreamed up by some douch bag out in the desert.

  • Crushment

    It is called Sharia by stealth. The UN is nothig more than a twilight home for cow-eyed, Third World dictators and their bent over Leftie lackeys.

    Here's a bit of free speech for you: Bomb the UN!

  • amused

    Who in the hell cars what some schmuck in the UN says ? Free speech is not a gift , it was something fought for , blood was shed , and most of the world doesn't have it .

  • Steeloak

    Reminds me of the old Soviet constitution, full of lofty language about rights and ideals, but with enough exceptions to enable the complete police state that it was.

    • Kufar Dawg

      It sounds like the current presidential regime is sympathetic to a Soviet re-interepretation of the US Constitution.

  • tagalog

    To the extent that free speech is a gift at all, it's a gift from God, not the United Nations. Since it's a gift from God, no human has any justifiable claim to be able to interfere with it.

    Neither the U.S. Constitution nor the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights adds one crumb of additional meaning to the right to free speech; they simply acknowledge its existence, and at least the U.S. Constitution prohibits legislatures from making laws that interfere with freedom of speech, I don't know what the U.N. document does.

  • Ar'nun

    Allow me to use my gift to tell the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson to F*** Off! For me, the best part about this is the typical arrogance he expressed with his intellectual idea that freedoms are gifts from benevolent rulers. He most likely can not comprehend what would in reality be a statement worthy of ridicule. Although Leftists like him denounce the concept of bullying, I contend this is evident that bullies serve an invaluable role within society. See if Jan Elliasson was ridiculed mercilessly for espousing such moronic voids of intellect like this, if he feared the harassment of people pointing and laughing at him every time he said something so utterly stupid, maybe he would either choose his words more carefully, or disappear back into society to become as insignificant as he really should be.

  • ezra mordecai

    It's not our speech that offends them, it is our very presence that offends them. The speech is just an excuse to further their hate. They will not be satified until we are dead!

  • LindaRivera

    Muslim Obama sitting in the White Mosque and other Western leaders
    apologized profusely for the movie to the world’s Muslims and
    continually grovelled before Muslims. It was quite irrelevant to Obama
    and other merciless Western ruling elites that the Muslims barbarically
    murdered the U.S. ambassador and other non-Muslim innocents.

    Muslim Obama and Western leaders are extremely DELIGHTED to use the
    movie as an excuse to DESTROY our freedom of speech and implement
    Islamic sharia blasphemy laws.

    Barack Hussein Obama told the UN General Assembly: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
    One blogger stated: I consider that statement a death threat to me and all anti-Islam
    bloggers, authors, and activists by the President of the United States…

    When DECEIVER, Emperor Barack Hussein Obama declared: “The future
    must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” he meant
    the future must not belong to those who tell the TRUTH about Islam.

  • Glennd1

    I don't recognize the authority of the U.N. to make any statements about what rights I possess or don't. You see, we declared them ours and enshrined them in legitimate law and governed ourselves accordingly for 220+ years now. It may be that the rest of humanity got those rights (among many others) by the introduction of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, and I suggest the U.N. focus it's energies on the incredible oppression that much of the world live under versus lecturing the U.S. on free speech. We taught the world about free speech and are in no need of lectures from the U.N.

  • Tanner

    Free speech is not a gift. It's a right. The Universal Human Rights Declaration will not work because the UN is now controlled by people who do not in any way represent human rights. The UN invites Islamic dictators and other kinds of tyrants into it's membership. If that number starts to increase, the whole UN will be a platform for evil. Either the UN has to be abolished, or the UN has to be strong and get rid of all of the dictators out of it's membership. But frankly, I think it's a bit too late for the UN to change. The UN is pretty much jacked. They never made any resolution or sanction against North Korea or China for persecuting Christians and others in their countries. They never spoke out against the Cambodian Genocide while it was happening. They never spoke out against anti-Semitism in Europe. They never condemned the Viet Cong for using children as child soldiers. They never spoke out against the oppression of moderate Muslims (such as genital cutting, hanging gays, and "honor killing") in the Middle East. The only thing the UN has done in resent years is becoming a platform for anti-Americanism and anti-Israelism. They seem to condemn what is good but not condemn what is bad.

  • Ghostwriter

    I also want to use my "gift" of free speech to call the Deputy Secretary General a complete idiot. How dare he or those like the OIC lecture Americans about free speech. We've been doing that a long time and we like our First Amendment a lot. I wish that he and those like him would stop trying to tinker with our Constitution.

  • jose

    Muslims do not believe in freedom of speech. The demacrats have aligned themselves with socialists and muslims. What do you think they want to do with Americans? Think, then vote.

  • https://www.facebook.com/mike.villano.71 Mike Villano

    The "gift" these UN parasites enjoy is the selling out of Americans by parasitic American officials and intellectuals.
    Ban Ki Moon, Kofi Annan and the rest of these parasites can go to hell along with the sell out Americans who insist aiding and abetting mass murder, jihad and oppression through diplomatic French kissing and kitty licking.
    These malignant parasite Americans at the State Dept deliver weapons platforms and cash to pay for them in lieu of platforms that they prefer to call "Humanitarian Aid."
    They are truly low life academic bimbos too proud and addicted to other people's money to ever 2nd guess the capitulation and formulas for selling out the US they learned in diplomacy school.
    These American Quislings handed North Africa over to Al Qaeda and now they are trying to figure out how to deal with that highly very predictable mess they made.
    Real Americans would toss the UN parasites out on their ear and stop pretending this immoral hive of scum and villainy is the apex of legitimacy and morality in the world. That confusion more than anyone we owe to the false prophets in our media.

  • Woody W Woodward

    Is this group of self-righteous fools trying to convince everyone that prior to 10 December 1948, the date the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no body had unalienable rights recognized (not adopted or given) by my country’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution in the 1770′s?

    Man nor government gave me my rights, and no man, or government, or association of governments can take them from me.
    [W3]

  • ThomasPaine

    Go straight to hell, Jan. Shocking fact number 1: You did not give me anything, G-d did. Shocking fact number 2: Forcing me to prove it will be unpleasant, profoundly unpleasant.

  • NewHampshire

    Why is it therefor that so many 'republicans' and 'conservatives' allow their children to attend UNESCO controlled schools? And that's not just IB schools (www.ibo.org) I hope FPM will help us expose this program.
    http://www.mvsd-ib.org/ib/2012/10/13/why-your-chi

  • Ya_think

    Please visit this site and sign the petition to get out of the UN. We need to tell Obama and the rest of the government to get out of the UN now before we lose even more of our freedoms to the One World Government that the UN is trying to impose on us.
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/complet