GENEVA - The UN's Human Rights Committee said on Thursday that freedom of expression was a "meta-right" underpinning all human rights everywhere.
A long-awaited document from the panel of 18 jurists also said that freedom of opinion, and by extension religion, should not be restricted under any circumstances and warned governments that did so they would be violating a basic UN accord.
The independent experts, set out their trenchant stance in a "general comment" on how parts of the UN's Covenant on Civil and Political Rights should be interpreted and applied.
The comment, committee vice-chairman Michael O'Flaherty, told a media conference, "is a strong reaffirmation of the central importance for all human rights of the freedom of expression", even of giving views some see as deeply offensive.
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