Cablegate: Communication From Special Rapporteur On Freedom

Published: Fri 15 Aug 2008 03:29 PM
R 151529Z AUG 08
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. Mission has received a communication from the Special
Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. This
communication is number 47 on the Geneva 2008 Communications
2. Begin text of letter. Excellency, I have the honor to
address you in my capacity as Special Rapporteur on freedom
of religion or belief pursuant to General Assembly resolution
60/251 and to Human Rights Council resolution 6/37.
In this connection, I would like to bring to your
Government's attention information I have received concerning
Mr. Lyle Moody, currently detained in Western New Mexico
Correctional Facility, Grants.
According to the information received,
Since Mr. Lyle Moody, a practicing Muslim, was recently
transferred from Lea County Correctional Facility (LCCF) in
Hobbs to Western New Mexico Correctional Facility (WNMCF), he
has been denied several religious practices by prison staff
members. At WNMCF he has been prohibited from wearing the
traditional Islamic white knit (kufi) cap, while other
inmates are allowed to wear different kinds of caps in
prison. The Islamic Jumah prayer services are not announced
over WNMCF's loudspeakers on Fridays, whereas other religious
services are. Mr. Moody reportedly did not face such
restrictions on the right to practice his religion when he
was in Lea County Correctional Facility.
While I do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these
allegations, I also like to appeal to your Excellency's
Government to ensure the right to freedom of religion or
belief in accordance with the principles set forth in the
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance
and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief and article
18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights as well as of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
According to para. 8 of General Comment 22 of the Human
Rights Committee, persons already subject to certain
legitimate constraints, such as prisoners, continue to enjoy
their rights to manifest their religion or belief to the
fullest extent compatible with the specific nature of the
constraint. Furthermore, the Standard Minimum Rules for the
Treatment of Prisoners provides that "(s)o far as
practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the
needs of his religious life by attending the services
provided in the institution and having in his possession the
books of religious observance and instruction of his
denomination" (rule 42).
I urge your Government to take all necessary measures to
guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the aforementioned
persons are respected and that accountability of any person
guilty of the alleged violations is ensured. I also request
that your Government adopts effective measures to prevent the
recurrence of these acts.
It is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me
by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases
brought to my attention. Since I am expected to report on
these cases to the Council, I would be grateful for your
cooperation and your observance on the following matters:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the
case accurate?
2. Has a complaint been lodged?
3. Please provide the text of the New Mexico
Corrections Department policy on Religious Programs
(CD-101301) and comment on its compliance with the
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance
and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief and Article
18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
I would appreciate a response within sixty days. I
undertake to ensure that your Government's response to each
of these questions is accurately reflected in the report I
will submit to the Human Rights Council for its consideration.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest
consideration. Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on freedom
of religion or belief. End text of letter.
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