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Archive for March, 2012


Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 28, 2012

​Date: 24/03/2012
The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has welcomed the resolutions of the Human Rights Council, particularly the aspect on the Palestinian question and the decision to set up an independent international fact-finding mission on the implications of the Israeli settlements for the political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people on the entire occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. He described the resolutions as an important achievement towards the international community assuming its responsibilities by putting an end to Israeli illegal occupation and settlement on occupied Palestinian territories.

​The Secretary General commended the role of the Islamic Group which worked for the presentation and support of these important resolutions. He praised the stances of other regional groups and states that supported the resolutions on the Palestinian question. Meanwhile he stressed the need to investigate Israeli crimes and violations and their effects on the rights of the Palestinian people.


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UN HRC Resolution: Combating intolerance, incitement to violence and violence against based on religion/belief

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 22, 2012

Human Rights Council

Nineteenth session (Agenda item 9)

Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related form of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

19/…      Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief

The Human Rights Council,

       Reaffirming the commitment made by all States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to, inter alia, religion or belief,

       Reaffirming also Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 of 24 March 2011 and General Assembly resolution 66/167 of 19 December 2011,

       Welcoming the panel discussion on strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and diversity of religions and beliefs, held during the seventeenth session of the Human Rights Council pursuant to paragraph 9 of resolution 16/18,

       Reaffirming the obligation of States to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion or belief and to implement measures to guarantee the equal and effective protection of the law,

       Reaffirming also that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides, inter alia, that everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, which shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching,

       Reaffirming further the positive role that the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can play in strengthening democracy and combating religious intolerance,

       Deeply concerned about incidents of intolerance, discrimination and violence against persons based on their religion or belief in all regions of the world,

       Deploring any advocacy of discrimination or violence on the basis of religion or belief,

       Strongly deploring all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as any such acts directed against their homes, businesses, properties, schools, cultural centres or places of worship,

       Concerned about actions that wilfully exploit tensions or target individuals on the basis of their religion or belief,

       Noting with deep concern the instances of intolerance, discrimination and acts of violence in many parts of the world, including cases motivated by discrimination against persons belonging to religious minorities, in addition to the negative projection of the followers of religions and the enforcement of measures that specifically discriminate against persons on the basis of religion or belief,

       Recognizing the valuable contribution of people of all religions or beliefs to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind,

       Recognizing also that working together to enhance implementation of existing legal regimes that protect individuals against discrimination and hate crimes, increase interfaith and intercultural efforts, and to expand human rights education are important first steps in combating incidents of intolerance, discrimination and violence against individuals on the basis of religion or belief,

       1.             Expresses deep concern at the continued serious instances of derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of persons based on their religion or belief, as well as programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at creating and perpetuating negative stereotypes about religious groups, in particular when condoned by Governments;

       2.             Expresses its concern that incidents of religious intolerance, discrimination and related violence, as well as of negative stereotyping of individuals on the basis of religion or belief, continue to rise around the world, and condemns, in this context, any advocacy of religious hatred against individuals that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and urges States to take effective measures, as set forth in the present resolution, consistent with their obligations under international human rights law, to address and combat such incidents;

       3.             Condemns any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether it involves the use of print, audio-visual or electronic media or any other means;

       4.             Recognizes that the open public debate of ideas, as well as interfaith and intercultural dialogue, at the local, national and international levels can be among the best protections against religious intolerance and can play a positive role in strengthening democracy and combating religious hatred, and convinced that a continuing dialogue on these issues can help overcome existing misperceptions;

       5.             Notes the speech given by Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference at the fifteenth session of the Human Rights Council, and draws on his call on States to take the following actions to foster a domestic environment of religious tolerance, peace and respect, by:

       (a)           Encouraging the creation of collaborative networks to build mutual understanding, promoting dialogue and inspiring constructive action towards shared policy goals and the pursuit of tangible outcomes, such as servicing projects in the fields of education, health, conflict prevention, employment, integration and media education;

       (b)           Creating an appropriate mechanism within Governments to, inter alia, identify and address potential areas of tension between members of different religious communities, and assisting with conflict prevention and mediation;

       (c)           Encouraging training of Government officials in effective outreach strategies;

       (d)           Encouraging the efforts of leaders to discuss within their communities the causes of discrimination, and evolving strategies to counter these causes;

       (e)           Speaking out against intolerance, including advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence;

       (f)            Adopting measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief;

       (g)           Understanding the need to combat denigration and negative religious stereotyping of persons, as well as incitement to religious hatred, by strategizing and harmonizing actions at the local, national, regional and international levels through, inter alia, education and awareness-building;

       (h)           Recognizing that the open, constructive and respectful debate of ideas, as well as interfaith and intercultural dialogue at the local, national and international levels, can play a positive role in combating religious hatred, incitement and violence;

       6.             Calls upon all States:

       (a)           To take effective measures to ensure that public functionaries in the conduct of their public duties do not discriminate against an individual on the basis of religion or belief;

       (b)           To foster religious freedom and pluralism by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society;

       (c)           To encourage the representation and meaningful participation of individuals, irrespective of their religion, in all sectors of society;

       (d)           To make a strong effort to counter religious profiling, which is understood to be the invidious use of religion as a criterion in conducting questionings, searches and other law enforcement investigative procedures;

       7.             Encourages States to consider providing updates on efforts made in this regard as part of ongoing reporting to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

       8.             Calls upon States to adopt measures and policies to promote the full respect for and protection of places of worship and religious sites, cemeteries and shrines, and to take measures in cases where they are vulnerable to vandalism or destruction;

       9.             Calls for strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and diversity of religions and beliefs.

Distr. by UN HRC Extranet / Original: English/ 16 March 2012

Posted in For Your Information, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Religion, Human Rights and Islam, International Human Rights, Pakistan | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Indonesia wants to be Host of OIC Human Rights Commission

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 15, 2012

Thursday, 23 February, 2012

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Indonesia is planning on running to become a host for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Human Right Commission. “We are running [for the position] in response to the gridlock in the decision making process to determine where the commission should be based,” said Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Michael Tene on Wednesday. “But we’re not competing.”

The commission, established a year ago, has been absent due to fierce competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both countries insisted on becoming the base for the Human Rights Commission which recently held its first meeting in Jakarta this week. The determination of the Human Rights Commission base is scheduled to be announced in the OIC Foreign Affairs Minister Meeting in Djibouti in mid-year.

The effort has been supported by Indonesian human rights activists. “Human rights enforcement in Indonesia is much better that other Islamic countries,” said Muhammad Hazif, program manager of the OIC Human Rights Watch Group (HRWG), after an informal meeting between Indonesian Civilian Coalition with the OIC Human Rights commissioners at the Aryaduta Hotel in Jakarta.



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NGOs ask OIC’s new human rights body to engage civil society

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 15, 2012

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 02/21/2012 8:13 PM

Several non-governmental human rights organizations said that the newly established Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC) Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) should actively involve civil society in their activities.

“According to my experience, state-level organizations’ credibility and accountability would improve if they succeed in building constructive engagement with various civil society groups,” Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) executive director Rafendi Djamin said on Tuesday.

He added that the participation of civil society was necessary and required access, distribution of information and other mechanisms from the commission.

Rafendi’s statement was made during an informal luncheon discussion between the commissioners of OIC’s IPHRC and Indonesian civic leaders at the Aryaduta Hotel in Central Jakarta.

The IPHRC is holding its first official meeting from Monday to Friday this week in Jakarta.

Indonesia’s representative to the commission, Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, has been appointed as commission chairperson. The commission is currently determining where they might establish their headquarters.

The creation of the IPHRC is deemed as a major breakthrough for the Islamic world, as many of its countries face criticism regarding allegations of failure to protect human rights.

Several representatives from Indonesia, such as Wahid Institute director Yenny Zannuba Wahid and the chairperson of the National Commission on Violence against Women, Yuniyanti Chuzaifah, also attended the event. (rpt)


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OIC body told to engage civil groups

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 15, 2012

Rabby Pramudatama, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 02/22/2012

The newly-established human rights commission at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should work together with civil organizations in order to improve human rights protection, rights watchdogs have said.

To make the collaboration run smoothly, the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) needs to give civil society access to information about human rights issues.

“Based on my experience, state-level organizations’ credibility and accountability improves if they succeed in building constructive engagement with various civil society groups,” Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) executive director Rafendi Djamin said on Tuesday.

The OIC, an organization that attempts to be the collective voice of the Muslim world (Ummah), set up the IPHRC in June 2011, in Astana, Kazakhstan.

As a member, Indonesia has been appointed to hold the first meeting, which took place at a Central Jakarta hotel from Monday to Friday this week. Other elements of civil society expressed hopes that the IPHRC, as the new commission, was perceived as more progressive compared to other human rights bodies at the regional level.

The IPHRC recognized the role of civil society organizations in promoting and protecting human rights in Muslim countries as stated in Article 15 of its statute. National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) chairperson Yuniyanti Chuzaifah said it was crucial for the IPHRC to expand its mandate.

“The IPHRC should have the authority to monitor its member countries and the results should be verified with information provided by civil society,” she said.

Zannuba “Yenny” Wahid, the director of the Wahid Institute and also the daughter of Indonesia’s fourth president, the late Abdurrahman Wahid, highlighted the challenges that the IPHRC faced.

“The commission is facing a great challenge, because according to its statute it has no binding resolution,” she told The Jakarta Post.

The IPHRC’s statute article 12 stipulates, “The commission shall carry out consultative tasks for the council and submit recommendations to it. It shall also carry out other tasks as may be assigned to it by the summit or the council.”

Despite its lack of binding power, Yenny said that the commission was still making good progress in regard to its function as an official permanent body that could, at least, set standard recommendations on human rights issues.

She said that on a domestic level, Indonesia’s main problem on human rights issues was the government’s lack of political will, which she deemed as the source of almost all human rights violations occurring across the country.

Many deemed that the creation of the IPHRC was a major breakthrough in the Islamic world, because many Muslim countries were criticized for their incompatibilities with human rights norms.

On Monday, the first day of the IPHRC’s meeting, Indonesia’s representative to the commission, Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, was appointed as the chairperson of the commission among all 18 commissioners.

“I think the protection of religious minority groups is one of my missions in the IPHRC,” she told the Post.

She said that the issue had not become the commission’s agenda but she would highlight violence against religious minority groups to commission members.



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OIC, Human Rights and Indonesia’s Role

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 15, 2012

The Jakarta Post, 24 Feb 2012 | Yuyun Wahyuningrum and Muhammad Hafiz

Jakarta is witnessing the historical moment of hosting the first meeting of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Feb. 20-24, 2012.

IPHRC was established during the 38th Ministerial Meeting of OIC in Astana, Kazakhstan in June last year with the adoption of resolution No. 2/38-LEG on “the Establishment of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission”.

In this meeting, foreign ministers of 57 countries selected 18 experts representing three regions: Asia, Africa and the Middle East to sit as commissioners in the IPHRC for three years. Experts representing Asia are Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin (Indonesia), Raihana Abdullah (Malaysia), Abdul Wahab (Pakistan) and Asila Wardak (Afghanistan).

During their five-day meeting in Jakarta, IPHRC would discuss household issues such as the secretariat of IPHRC, Rules of Procedures (ROP), structure of the Commission and elaboration of the Commission’s scope of work to include civil and political rights, the PalestineIsrael conflict, right to development, women and children’s rights, interfaith dialogue and the situation of Muslim minorities in the world.

As a new system, the Commission should also start discussing its strategic position among the existing human rights systems. As a matter of importance, IPHRC should not duplicate or compete with the other mechanisms.

Rather, it should complement, add values and strengthen each other’s mandates and roles in the respect, protect and fulfillment of human rights. IPHRC also should ensure involvement of the vulnerable and marginal groups in its deliberations.

OIC has been silent in global human rights debates since the adoption of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) in 1991. The creation of the IPHRC was part of institutional reform in OIC and a landmark of paradigm shift in the Islamic world on human rights.

In 2005, the third Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference adopted the Ten-year Program of Action (TYPA), which included the initiatives to institutionalize human rights in this Islamic political body.

In 2008, the new OIC included the creation of IPHRC in its new charter and adopted the Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women (OPAAW).

At the international level, OIC sponsors the formulation of the Resolution on Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief during the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2011.

Now, OIC is at the half-way stage in implementing its institutional reform plan. To what extent OIC is loyal to the universal human rights principles remains a big question at the moment, and begs explanation and evidence. More importantly is to answer how this reform is relevant to its Ummah to meet challenges in the 21st century as TYPA envisions.

Spokesperson of OIC said that the establishment of the IPHRC should be part of the solution instead of the problem. IPHRC was created to act independently and function as an advisory committee of the OIC on human rights matters.

In fact, during the Civil Society’s Forum to the First Meeting of the IPHRC that was organized by a Coalition for IPHRC Advocacy on Feb. 9, 2012, in Jakarta, Indonesia’s civil society expressed concern that the Commission would be used to legitimate the reduction of the interpretation of universal human rights principles.

This concern may be valid as Article 15 of the Charter of OIC states that IPHRC “shall promote the civil, political, social and economic rights enshrined in the organization’s covenants and declarations and in universally agreed human rights instruments, in conformity with Islamic values”.

At the same time, IPHRC can be a strategic venue to seek an alternative solution when it comes to crossregional issues such as protection of the rights of migrant workers.

OIC consists of members coming from three regional human rights systems, namely the African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the Arab League.

Middle East countries have been the primary destination of Indonesian migrant workers. There are about 1.5-1.7 million Indonesian migrant workers in the Middle East countries (Antara, Nov. 28, 2011).

Perhaps, the model of multiregional cooperation on upholding the rights of migrant workers is the answer to the complexity of the issue.

Indonesia’s membership in IPHRC enforces the leadership projection as the world’s third-largest democracy and as a moderate Muslim-majority country.

From 2005 on, Indonesia has been trying to convince the world that it is country is a place where democracy and human rights, Islam and modernity can go hand in hand.

Can Indonesia challenge OIC’S tradition position of being conservative Islam?

First, it is worth noting that economically, Indonesia’s bargaining power is inadequate to influence the decisions of the OIC. Logistically, Indonesia has no physical representation in the OIC headquarters in Saudi Arabia to deal specifically with OIC multi-lateral cooperation.

Second, there has been a relative neglect of Indonesia’s Islamic credentials. Apart from the fact that Indonesia never declares itself an Islamic country; its Islam is not the way it is supposed to be.

Being moderate Islam, Indonesia has the superior authority to inform OIC in its reform process, which brings the motto of “moderation and modernization”.

Democratic transition in Indonesia has changed the country from being the target of scrutiny for alleged human rights abuses to a more responsible international player.

This should give added values to OIC in promoting human rights.

OIC and IPHRC need to work hard to gain credibility from its members, the international community and the Muslim population around the world.

Selecting the host of IPHRC is an important and political aspect to show OIC’S genuine intentions on human rights. It is expected that Jakarta will be chosen over Jeddah and Tehran in the next Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in May 2012 in Djibouti.

The writers work for the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), a network of 50 organizations working on human rights in Indonesia for international human rights advocacy, based in Jakarta.

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Statement by H.E. Prof.Dr.EkmeleddinIhsanoglu, Secretary General Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the High Level Segment of the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 1, 2012

Statement by H.E. Prof.Dr.EkmeleddinIhsanoglu, Secretary General Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the High Level Segment of the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

(Geneva – February 28, 2012)
Madam President,
Madam High Commissioner,
Hon’ble Ministers,
Excellencies Heads of Delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As always, it is a matter of honor and privilege to address this Council. The Council is reinvigorated following the review process. This session, in particular, is of utmost significance being held at a time of unprecedented transformation. Events that symbolized this transformation during the last year or so placed human rights at the centre of the global agenda. Parts of the Muslim World formed exponent of this transformations. Accordingly, OIC has been closely associated with the other international organizations that carried the international community’s effort to evolve ways and means to address different situations that unfolded over the last year. It only reflects the primacy accorded at the OIC to seeking multilateral solutions to issues and situations in contemporary international relations. We believe this Council’s role would continue to figure prominently in forging and implementing international consensus. OIC believes in consensus being of the essence towards legitimizing international Community’s action. This must be done with a sense of history and eye on the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is in a similar vein that I would like to share an accomplishment of historical significance at the OIC. Last year, I informed this Council that OIC was on the verge of creating an independent permanent Human Rights Commission. I can today report with a sense of satisfaction that the Commission has been established. The first formal session was held in Jakarta last week. The Commission elected a distinguished Lady from amongst the 18 Commissioners to serve as its First Chairperson.

Establishment of the Commission – in half the stipulated period – symbolizes the new OIC propelled by the vision of ‘moderation and modernization’. It is based on the collective will of Member States to mainstream the human rights dimension across the programs and activities of the OIC. It is a major focus of international attention as the first cross regional human rights mechanism owing to the nature of OIC’s membership. It is being seen and acknowledged as a paradigm shift. We hope its work would dispel the misperceptions regarding Islam’s incompatibility with human rights. It would represent a confluence of universal rights and freedoms and Islamic values. It would catalyze a coherent and strong OIC system aimed at facilitating the full enjoyment of all human rights in the Member States.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This session of the Council is characterized by a substantive agenda with imminent implications towards global peace, security and stability. Movements, particularly in parts of the Muslim world lately, indicate the absence of appetite for continuing violations of Human Rights on the international scene. The longstanding issues symbolizing such violations will, therefore, have to be addressed on a priority basis.

The situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories constitutes a permanent agenda item. The Palestinian issue has been at the core of OIC’s concerns. It formed the raison d’être behind the inception of the OIC in 1969. The Israeli occupation and policies pose a continuing threat to human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. Key issues including the Palestinian refugees; Civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in Occupied East Jerusalem; settlements in the occupied Arab territories; apartheid wall; blockade of Gaza Strip; and the Palestinian prisoners are riddled with violation of the whole range of Human Rights.

Continuous and deliberate aggression by Israeli military forces and a frequency of flagrant violations of basic human rights merit Council’s priority attention. Many reports and testimonies from various United Nations independent mechanisms have highlighted grave breaches of International Humanitarian and Human Rights law. These breaches underpin contentions of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the occupying power. I reiterate the urgent necessity for the Human Rights Council to effectively address the plight and permanent suffering of Palestinian people.

The alarming situation in Syria characterized by human rights violations has caused grave concern to the entire international community. The OIC has been actively involved in exploiting all available options to bring an end to the violence and loss of civilian lives through dialogue and negotiations without any external interference. I personally took the initiative in convening a Ministerial level Meeting of the Member States at the OIC headquarters to help evolve a solution. The OIC has been consistent in supporting the Arab League Plan. The latest resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly is a strong message that the ongoingkilling and violence against the civilian population in Syria is totally unacceptable and must be brought to an end. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our appeal to the Government of Syria to take heed of the concerns and anxiety of the entire international community with all seriousness without any further delay and help avoid a major humanitarian crisis.

Promotion and protection of human rights of the Kashmiri people continues to form part of the OIC’s agenda. We are particularly concerned at the Human Rights situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. We continue to call for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe resumption of engagement between Pakistan and India is a positive development that must be continued and intensified with a view to resolving all outstanding issues.

We are also following situation of Muslim minorities in non-OIC member states such as the Philippines and Thailand in close and positive collaboration with the Governments of these countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Islamophobia is a contemporary manifestation of racism. Combating Islamophobia as well as vilification of all religions and denigration of symbols and personalities sacred to all religions is a matter of priority at the OIC. We regret that events representing constitutionalization and institutionalization of Islamophobia continue to unfold. Most disconcerting is Islamophobia being used as an instrument of electoral politics. This is a dangerous trend that needs to be arrested. It threatens the multicultural fabric of societies. It could seriously undermine international community’s efforts aimed at interfaith harmony that could underwrite peace and security- particularly so in a world faced with the menace of terrorism. There is an urgent need to initiate and sustain ‘preventive cultural diplomacy’.

It is in this context that OIC took the initiative embodied in the resolution 16/18. This session marks the first anniversary of the consensual passage of this resolution. It was based on the eight points that I mentioned during my address to the 15th session of the Council in September 2010. I am glad that these points found resonance with all the negotiating partners and resulted in a process of consensus building. We must now build on the consensus. It is with this in mind that I initiated – with the presence and participation of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Baroness Ashton and other Ministers – the Istanbul Process for a consensual implementation of this resolution. The process seems to be going forward with the last meeting held in Washington and the next to be scheduled in the EU region. OIC will also be hosting an event this year to further the Process. We believe it is important to have a structured engagement. We must address the grey areas and the whole package of interrelated issues by accommodating all concerns of all parties. The alternative approach in resolutions 16/18 at HRC and 66/167 at UNGA has put the decade of polarization and politicization behind us. This enables us to address the real issues and chart out a sustainable and result-oriented course of action at the national and the international levels. Recent events characterized by loss of lives in Norway and Afghanistan underscored the importance of concerted and consensual international action. OIC has demonstrated ability to build consensus on the most sensitive of international issues. We look forward to being reciprocated in the same spirit.

Madam President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The international community agreed during the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993, that national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind while considering the issue of human rights. It is in this context that the issue of sexual orientation is approached by the OIC.

We are deeply concerned at the introduction of controversial notions like “sexual orientation and gender identity” at the Council. Focus on special groups has been questioned in terms of the universality of Human Rights. We have been consistent in opposition to the attempts to introduce – at the United Nations – concepts that have no legal foundation in any international human rights instrument. The international community only recognizes the rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights were duly codified in subsequent international legal instruments. We note with concern the attempts to create controversial new notions or standards by misinterpreting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties to include notionsthat were never articulated or agreed to by the UN membership. These attempts undermine the intent of the drafters and signatories to these human rights instruments. The entire international human rights framework is seriously jeopardized by such attempts.

Madam President,

Let me conclude by emphasizing that my presence here today bears testimony to the increasing importance accorded to Human Rights issues at OIC. I am confident that this session will bring about some conclusive decisions with regard topromotion and protection of Human Rights, under your wise stewardship.

I thank you all.

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