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OIC seeks rights debates based on Islamic values

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 11, 2014

Iyad Madani, OIC SG

JEDDAH: HABIB SHAIKH | Published — Tuesday 4 February 2014

One of the major challenges of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is finding ways to enrich global human rights debates with Islamic values and principles, said Iyad Madani, the newly appointed OIC secretary-general.

In a statement issued at the fourth session of the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), on Sunday here, Madani said that current international human rights laws are based on Western values.

He said the OIC was looking particularly at limitations on freedom of expression, gender equality, applying human rights in accordance with the OIC member states’ constitutional and legal systems, and stopping the spread of extremism.

With reference to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights and major UN human rights instruments, he said most OIC countries have “willingly adopted and implemented international human rights norms. However, there are a number of issues that go beyond the normal scope of human rights and clash with Islamic teachings,” Madani said in the statement.

Freedom of expression is considered a fundamental right, but despite “repeated incidents of hatred and violence resulting from discrimination based on stereotyping and stigmatization of individuals, communities and religions, some countries continue to refuse any limitations or responsible use of this right,” Madani said.

“Muslim countries wanting to ensure respect for the sanctity and reputation of religious values, scriptures and personalities for the promotion of peace in society are criticized for limiting this freedom through blasphemy laws.”

“One of the main issues related to the gender equality debate is the very definition of the term gender. While OIC countries prefer to use the notion of equality between men and women, Western countries push for the term ‘gender,’ which goes beyond the normal definition of man and woman into the direction of how one perceives him or herself rather than his or her actual physical appearance.”

“Another challenge facing the commission is that all references to human rights in the OIC documents stipulate that these principles should be applied in accordance with the member states’ constitutional and legal systems.”

He said there needs to be a way found to define these stipulations, and create “a yardstick that each individual member state can look at to measure the distance between the Islamic human rights model and its own laws and practices,” he said.

Another important challenge was how to “deprive the extreme voices” in member states from claiming they represent Islam.

“The road ahead is full of challenges, but the OIC now has the framework and mechanism to move ahead, and the commission is the spearhead of this effort,” Madani said.

He said that the OIC takes pride in the fact that Islam was the first religion that laid down universal fundamental rights for humanity. The OIC had since its inception taken care to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, safeguard the rights of women and their participation in all spheres of life, and assist Muslim minorities and communities outside the member states to preserve their dignity, and cultural and religious identities.

The OIC charter stipulated the formation of the IPCHR, as one of its organs to promote civil, political, social and economic rights in conformity with Islamic values.

In its 10-year strategic plan, approved in Makkah in 2005, the OIC asserted that it was important for member states to revive the Muslim Ummah’s pioneering role on rights issues. They should expand the scope of political participation, ensure equality, civil liberties and social justice, promote transparency and accountability, and eliminate corruption.

The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam embodies the OIC’s most complete statement on human rights in Islam. Other documents followed suit including the covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam and the OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women.

“The commission has done commendable work on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories; on the issue of discrimination and intolerance against Muslims and on the issue of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar,” Madani said.

The commission also established four working groups to address these issues in an effective and sustained fashion: on Palestine, on the Rights of Women and of the Child, on Islamophobia and Muslim minorities, and on Right to Development. It also created an ad hoc working group to establish a proper framework for interaction between the IPHRC and member states’ human rights institutions and civil society organizations.

Source: Arab News


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OSCE Vienna 2013 – Repudiate the Cairo Declaration

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 22, 2013

Published on Saturday, 20 July 2013

This is the seventh in a series of posts on this week’s OSCE “Supplementary Human Dimension” meeting in Vienna. More will be coming in the next few days. See the reference to a list of links at the bottom of this post for previous articles.

The following paper (official pdf version) was filed at today’s OSCE meeting in Vienna by International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA). It calls for the repudiation of the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam as having no relevance to what Western nations or the OSCE identify as human rights.

Note: The abbreviation “pS” in the text below is short for “participating State(s)”

OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting

Rule of Law in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

Vienna, July 12th 2013

Session II: Effective National and International Instruments to protect human rights and prevent human rights violations: Best practices, current challenges and solutions

In reference to the excellent discussion of the universality of human rights, ICLA wants to draw attention to a deficiency in this field that can easily and usefully be corrected.

Before we can discuss effective national and international human rights, we need to define the terms unambiguously.

As most here would know, we have two main definitions of human rights, the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the European Human Rights Convention, both sound human rights instruments.

However, a third and potentially dangerous alternative definition exists, sponsored by the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), namely the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. This declaration, originally drafted by the Iranian theocratic regime, makes each and every right subject to Islamic law, also known as Sharia. This, in turn, negates the very notion of inalienable individual rights and several other essential values.

The Cairo Declaration is recognized as a so-called “regional instrument” by the United Nations, but rarely, if ever, used or referred to. It is thus functionally redundant, yet its approval creates an unneeded and potentially dangerous ambiguity in the formal definition of the human rights. For Sharia is incompatible with democracy and fundamental human rights, as stated in 2003 by the European Court of Human Rights, and thus the Cairo Declaration is equally incompatible with any meaningful definition of human rights, as well as with several OSCE commitments.

Thus, to avoid willful misinterpretations of what “human rights” refer to, it would be good for the protection of human rights defenders to have the Cairo Declaration explicitly repudiated by those OSCE pS that also hold membership of the OIC. If they do not do so, they should provide a detailed justification for keeping this declaration on the books, and the intended use of it.

ICLA thus recommends that:

  • OSCE makes a statement that the Cairo Declaration has no relevance to its understanding of human rights.
  • OSCE pS that are also members of OIC explicitly repudiate the Cairo Declaration as being of no relevance, now or in the future, for the interpretation of “human rights”.

Source: Right Side News

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Malala’s Lessons for the Muslim World

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 11, 2013

by Amb. Ufuk Gokcen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, United Nations

In 2009, Malala Yousafzai, a seventh grade student in the Swat district of Pakistan, made headlines around the world for exposing the inequities that young girls faced under the Taliban in her hometown of Mingora. She has become a symbol of peace through her continued advocacy for education of girls in her region and has been recognized by governments around the world for her important advocacy.

On Oct. 9, 2012, gunmen stopped a bus taking students home from school, asked for Malala Yousafzai by name, and shot her in the head.

In phone interviews following the attack, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban cited her role as an “advocate for the West” as the reason for her targeting and vowed to target her again if she survived.

The Pakistani Taliban is now resorting to other deplorable methods of intimidation by throwing acid on the faces of girls who seek education. The Taliban in Afghanistan has used the same scare tactics.

As the world reels in the face of such senseless brutality, it is easy to generalize the underlying ignorance and intolerance that motivated this attack to the rest of the Muslim world. The perceived rejection of “Western” values by this group of extremists can leave the impression that we are seeing the beginning of a new kind of despotism threatening the rights and lives of anyone who stands up for these values.

The OIC General Secretariat, the newly established OIC Independent and Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), and around 50 Pakistani Ulema were among those condemning the cowardly act of shooting Malala as un-Islamic. However, at the grass roots level, civil society institutions of the OIC member countries, including women and youth, NGOs and clergy, should be more pro-active and vocal.

The small group of extremists, in contrast to 1.5 billion mainstream Muslims, can not represent any Islamic tradition. However, there is a danger. If not challenged, these inhuman terror methods could be emulated elsewhere, such as West Africa and Sahel.

Saudi commentator Tariq Maeena underlined in his op-ed published by the Gulf News that what was indeed disturbing was the absence of forceful rejection by established Islamic religious institutions and figures of such twisted practices and values. Is it possible not to agree? It is high time that ignorant and twisted minds hijacking and misinterpreting the Islamic values are confronted and challenged forcefully by the highest religious authorities.

At the intergovernmental level, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has taken the lead to improve the rights and opportunities of women within its member states. One of the central tenets of the OIC’s Ten-Year Programme of Action is the advancement of women’s rights.

Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC, reinforced the importance of equality and opportunity for women saying, “Women are an important segment of our societies … Their advancement in all the areas is therefore imperative to achieve sustainable and balanced development, and to bring progress and prosperity in society.”

The OIC’s work on behalf women’s rights have included the formation of the OIC Department of Family Affairs which addresses the issues of women, youth, and children and the creation of an Islamic Network of Women Scientists which encourages a greater involvement of women in both scientific and technological fields. The OIC has also partnered with the United States Departments of State and Health as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, civil society, and other international organizations to reduce the mortality rate of women during childbirth and to ensure children’s health during the first month of their life.

Additionally, the OIC made the historic decision to establish the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) in June 2011. Not only does the mission of the IPHRC encourage the placement of women on the Commission, but it has made the rights of women and children its top priority. The 18 member Commission is currently chaired by a woman, Dr. Siti Ruhuaini Dzuhayatin, who is an distinguished lecturer of sociology from Indonesia and helped set up the first women crisis centre in her country. Meanwhile, women even in the most criticized OIC member countries are making historic progress, though in a gradual manner; and others in some member states are holding tight to not lose their rights and acquired standings in the transition to democracy. One common aspect in all these countries is that women are determined to have a stronger say in how their societies and countries are ruled, and they don’t want to go back.

As the OIC focal point in the US-OIC engagement, one of my most pleasant duties was to co-sponsor a symposium in June 2011 with the US Department of State entitled, “Changing Mindsets to Promote Women and Girls in Science.” While the United Nations recently marked the first International Day of the Girl Child, it is the duty of all of us to do more to enable millions of bright minds like Malala to have better prospects and bring down the false obstacles in front of women erected in the name of traditions or the misinterpretation or manipulation of religious teachings.

Source: Huffington Post

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Opening remarks by His Excellency the Secretary General during the High Level meeting on intolerance

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on January 23, 2013


(London – January 22, 2013) 

Baroness Warsi, 
Hon’ble Ministers, 
Dear colleagues, 

Let me begin by thanking you Madam for taking the commendable initiative to organize this high level meeting. I also acknowledge the presence of Ministers and other colleagues who responded to your kind invitation. In addition to making the most of the traditional British hospitality, we are all gathered here to address an issue of utmost contemporary significance. We must aim at developing a common understanding on the way forward. I will briefly share some ideas in this regard. 

Combating discrimination and intolerance forms a most daunting challenge of our times. It constitutes a matter of vital concern at the OIC. The increasing trend of Islamophobia is indeed ominous in a globalized world. There has been an alarming increase in intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. The fifth report of OIC Islamophobia Observatory reveals an alarming upsurge. It has been a period punctuated by utterly reprehensible episodes including – burning of the holy Quran – the Utoya massacre in Norway – and most recently the release of the trailer of ‘innocence of Muslims’. In confirming our worst fears, increasing frequency of such events and their aftermath vindicated OIC’s warnings of serious repercussions. The long term implications go beyond these repercussions. 

During the last five years, a succession of unfortunate steps taken even by some governments in the West – indicating institutionalization and constitutionalization of Islamophobia – are disturbing. Most disconcerting is the emerging pattern of its abuse as an instrument of local, regional and international politics – documented by our Observatory over the last five years. Religion has come to play an increasingly important role in the calculus of international relations. The situation is likely to exacerbate in the wake of the current economic recession. It must accordingly figure in our strategic calculations. Tensions must not be allowed to simmer but addressed through concerted action. They could jeopardize peaceful coexistence in an interdependent and interconnected world. 

Gatherings like the one today are, therefore, increasingly important. In a world faced with the menace of terrorism, incitement to hatred, discrimination, and violence, cannot and must not be ignored. We would, otherwise, be faced with the unaffordable risk of the agenda hijacked and set by radicals and non-state actors. We need to act to wrest the initiative away from the street to the table of meaningful and result oriented multilateral discourse. 

Dear colleagues, 

The consensual passage of HRC resolution 16/18 has been widely acknowledged as a positive development. The Resolution forms a triumph of multilateralism must also be seen as a poster child of OIC-US-EU cooperation. It demonstrated OIC’s ability to forge consensus on a most sensitive of issues in contemporary international relations. The resolution codified the eight points identified in my address to the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council. These points constitute areas of action at the national and the international levels. I am gratified that they could form the basis of consensus. It afforded the opportunity to focus on the real issues away from the politicization and polarization of a decade. 

We did not stop at mere passage of a resolution. The Istanbul Process initiated with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to build further on the consensus building that went into resolution 16/18 must be carried forward. Our meeting today is a part of this Process. I appreciate that it has come to be recognized as the way forward by all stakeholders. Its merit lies in acceptance as the least common denominator. This approach carries a lot of potential in terms of evolving an international consensus to deal with the matter while addressing genuine concerns of all parties. The real test, however, lies in implementation. The consensus would, otherwise, be fragile. The approach signified by the resolution 16/18 is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. We need to build on it. 
It must be appreciated that there is mounting public pressure on OIC Member States to take concrete action. A recently held panel of eminent lawyers and human rights practitioners – at the OIC – endorsed the 16/18 approach and the Istanbul Process as the avenues for engagement. It was agreed that there is no need to move towards an entirely new instrument. The provisions of existing instruments, including articles 19 and 20 of ICCPR, suffice in covering OIC’s concerns. It is the voids or gaps in interpretation, implementation and information that need to be plugged. There are differences that must be ironed out to develop a common understanding. I believe according equal weight to the concerns on both sides could form a good point of departure. 
Within the framework of the Istanbul Process, we must continue to address interrelated issues. Grey areas need to be squarely addressed in search of durable and consensual solutions. The two Istanbul Process events in Washington and London have addressed important areas with regard to the eight points. The Process must be carried forward. I take this opportunity to inform that OIC will be hosting the next event in the Istanbul Process. We look forward to sustaining a candid and frank exchange of views on each of the eight areas of action. This engagement would help us build on the consensus signified by the Resolution 16/18.The text has evolved as reflected by the latest UNGA resolution 67/178.It must continue to evolve on a consensual basis. 

Let me conclude by drawing attention to the need for an effective international mechanism that could act as an early warning system. I understand that the idea of an international observatory at the OHCHR in Geneva enjoyed support at the Winton Park event last month. OIC has its own Observatory with a mandate limited to monitoring Islamophobia. I understand that another mechanism to monitor hate crimes is in place at the OSCE. It also has a limited mandate. We need an Observatory at the international level with the broad mandate to monitor and document all instances of discrimination and intolerance on religious grounds. It must have a global coverage. It would monitor intolerance and discrimination against all religions and their respective followers. This would help us develop an empirical basis to understand the extent of the problem. That, in turn, would figure into evolving an effective and concerted international response to this matter of vital concern. OIC has been supportive of such an Observatory. In fact I indicated this support in the same statement at the Human Rights Council in September 2010 where the eight points were mentioned. I am reiterating this idea hoping that an agreement, in principle, can be reached at this meeting. It would form at least one concrete outcome of this important gathering. 

I conclude my remarks and would be listening carefully to all the interventions. 

I thank you Baroness. 
I thank you all.


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At The Oic Executive Committee Meeting On The Rohingya Muslims Crisis, Ihsanoglu Expresses Disappointment Over International Community’s Inaction In Myanmar

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on August 7, 2012

05/08/2012 | The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has expressed disappointment at the inaction of the international community to stop the massacres, violations, injustice and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Myanmar government against Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan region. In his speech to the extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee on this issue on 5 August 2012, Ihsanoglu remarked that the neglect of the rights of Rohingyan people by the international community and the lack of unity among Rohingya organizations spurred the OIC to exert earnest efforts to unite these organizations for the first time at the OIC headquarters on 31 May 2011.

Ihsanoglu explained that the OIC General Secretariat had directed its offices at the United Nations in New York to coordinate with its Member States which are also non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (Azerbaijan, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo) to urge the Council to consider the plight of the Rohingyan minorities.

The Secretary General proposed to the meeting to condemn the continued repression and ethnically-motivated oppression of the Rohingyan Muslims, demand for the restoration of their legitimate rights and request Member States, particularly those with representation with the Myanmar government, to do all within their means to convince the Myanmar government to repeal the arbitrary 1982 Citizenship Law which led to withdrawal of citizenship from Rohingyan Muslims. Ihsanoglu also urged states OIC Member States, especially Myanmar’s neighbouring countries, as well as Islamic organizations and bodies to provide urgent assistance to the Rohingyan Muslims. He proposed that the Islamic Group in Geneva should dispatch and urgent request to the Human Rights Council to send a fact-finding mission to investigate the massive violation perpetrated against the Muslims inhabitants of Arakan.

The OIC Secretary General also proposed that setting up of an Islamic fact-finding committee on the events should be considered, and that a report in that regard should be submitted to the next ministerial conference. He also proposed that an Islamic ministerial contact group should be established to find a just radical solution to this pending issue by contacting all relevant parties, including the Government of Myanmar, as well as international and regional organizations and bodies.

In conclusion, Ihsanoglu called on the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to consider the issue at its next session to be held in Turkey at the end of August.





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The OIC participates in a workshop on the implementation of UN resolution NO. 1624 on combating incitement to terrorist acts

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 26, 2012

 22/07/2012 | The OIC participated in the activities of the second special workshop in the Maghreb and Sahel region on the implementation of UN resolution NO. 1624 of 2005 on combating incitement to terrorist acts. The workshop was organized by UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) on 17-19 July 2012 in Rabat, Morocco.

The workshop brought together representatives of the governments of Maghreb and Sahel States, in addition to experts and representatives of a number international and regional organizations, NGOs and civil society institutions.

The discussions during the workshop’s sessions focused on challenges related to combating terrorism, how to effectively address incitement to terrorist acts, the advance patterns that terrorist acts are taking, in addition to examining the ways to promote short and long terms cooperation between Maghreb and Sahel States for capacity building in the field of combating terrorism and incitement to terrorist acts.

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The OIC expresses grave concern over the situation of Myanmar Rohingya Muslims

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 20, 2012

15/07/2012 | The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in a statement issued in Jeddah today, strongly condemned the renewed repression and violation of human rights of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim nationals since last June 2012 that has resulted in deaths of innocent civilians, burning of their homes and mosques and forcing them to leave their homeland. He added that over the past three decades, the Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim citizens have been subjected to gross violation of human rights including ethnic cleansing, killings, rape, and forced displacement by Myanmar security forces.

Ihsanoglu said that the recent restoration of democracy in Myanmar had raised hopes in the international community that oppression against Rohingya Muslims citizens would end and that they would be able to enjoy equal rights and opportunities. However, the renewed violence against Rohingya Muslims on June 3, 2012 had caused great alarm and concern to the OIC. He said that when efforts of the international community including the United Nations were underway for a peaceful resolution of the issue, the OIC was shocked by the unfortunate remarks of Myanmar President Thien Sein disowning Rohingya Muslims as citizens of Myanmar. Secretary General stressed that the Myanmar Government as a member of the United Nations and the ASEAN, must adhere to the international human rights instruments including the relevant conventions and declarations, in treatment of their citizens.

Secretary General Ihsanoglu referred to the United Nations declaration that the Rohingya are an ethnic, religious and linguistic minority from western Burma, and historical facts show that Rohingyas have been present in the land of Myanmar centuries before the British came in and after they left, before the formation of Burma, and very clearly before the formation of the current state of Myanmar. In spite of this, the government of Myanmar continues to persecute and discriminate against the Rohingya minority, particularly the citizenship law 1982, which violated international norms by stripping the Rohingyas unjustly of their rights of citizenship.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu hoped that the Myanmar Government would respond to the concerns of the international community in a positive and constructive manner so that all its Rohingya Muslim citizens are able to return to their homeland in honour, safety and dignity. He said that the OIC Charter stipulates the Organization to assist Muslim minorities and communities outside the Member States to preserve their dignity, cultural and religious identity. In this spirit, he also expressed the OIC’s determination to remain seized with the issue and to bring it in the agenda of the concerned international interlocutors including the United Nations, Human Rights Commissions, ASEAN, the EU as well bilaterally with the Myanmar Government, for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the issue. Myanmar should recognize that its new engagement at the international level doesn’t only come with opportunities but also with responsibilities.




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Ihsanoglu: Attacking Al-Aqsa Mosque shall not be Tolerated

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 20, 2012

17/07/2012 | The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, asserted that the Muslim Ummah shall not accept any attack against Al-Aqsa Mosque which is one of the holiest sanctities of Muslims, the destination of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his night journey (al-Israa) and Muslims’ first Qibla.
Ihsanoglu condemned the Israeli government’s claims that Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of the territory of Israel and is therefore subject to the Israeli Antiquities and Organization Law. He called on the ambassadors of the Islamic group to the UNESCO to act urgently and exert every possible effort to stop the Israeli attacks on religious and cultural places in the occupied Al-Quds City. The OIC Secretary General warned of the effects of such allegations as they pave the way for further attacks on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. He also indicated that pursuant to the International Law, the Israeli presence per se at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds City is void and illegal and must end.

Ihsanoglu added that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, like the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, is an occupied territory subject to the provisions of the Hague Convention of 1899 and 1907, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, as well as the Hague Convention of 1954 on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

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Statement Of H. E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General Of The OIC At The 3rd Meeting Of The Group Of Friends Of The Syrian People

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 20, 2012

Bismillahi Arrahmani Arrahim
In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

H. E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of France

Honorable Ministers,

Distinguished Heads of Delegation

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor and privilege for me to address the 3rd meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People convened at the beautiful city of Paris to discuss the situation in Syria and find ways and means to save the Syrian people and end its suffering and act together in order to stop the bloodshed which caused more than 15000 deaths.

At the very outset, I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the French Government for convening the important meeting and for the excellent arrangements and hospitality accorded to all delegations.

Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished delegates,

In spite of sincere efforts from the international community to resolve the Syrian crisis, I have no doubt that you share my deep concern and profound pain at what the situation there has turned into, with the ongoing bloodshed, the killing of innocent lives including children and women and the large scale destruction of homes and infrastructure. As we gather here today to examine this deplorable situation, we are reminded of the calamities endured by a people steeped in history who have suffered all kinds of killing, mutilation, torture and dispersion as a result of the mindless violence visited upon them, already claiming the violence. Moreover, the current situation could be an ominous portend of the breakout of a civil war that might crush even more thousands of innocent victims, with ripple effects reaching even beyond Syria, to all the countries of the region. Our duty now commands that we extend our urgent succor to the victims of the violence.

In this respect, I have already issued a call, less than a month ago, for an end to the killing in Syria, a call which takes root in the precepts of our noble faith that insist on the protection of human life, enjoins its preservation and prohibits the killing of innocents or their subjections to any harm.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since the onset of this crisis, we made a point of abiding by the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a Member State of the OIC, and of respecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity, a principled stand which was coupled by our keenness to preserve Syria’s safety, security and stability. However, the degrading security situation and worsened oppressive practices with the killing of large numbers of children and women have played in favor of internationalization of the crisis.

Syria, being an important member of the OIC, the OIC sought to contain the crisis before it overspills. Indeed, I had talks and contacts with the authorities in Damascus. I expressed my concern over the potential spread of the crisis, and encouraged the Syrian authorities to see to the early introduction of the announced reform. Then I dispatched a special envoy to Damascus in May 2011 to deliver a written message from me to President Bashar Al-Assad. In my messages, I expressed our profound sadness at the continued escalation and aggravation of violent practices, and stressed the need for a commitment to protect civilians, respect human rights, activate the principles of good governance, implement the reforms promised by the Syrian leadership and resolve the Syrian crisis through peaceful means. Subsequently, the OIC issued a number of communiqués calling for de-escalation and negotiated settlement

The OIC has never abandoned its fixed stand regarding the repercussions and developments in Syria. Since the outbreak of this crisis, the OIC General Secretariat has issued a number of statements reiterating its stand in favor of resolving the Syrian crisis through putting an immediate end to the violence and bloodshed.

Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Participants,

The OIC Executive Committee, which held a first meeting at the Ministerial level on 30 November 2011, urged the Syrian Government to fulfill its commitments to reform and to respond to the legitimate aspirations and demands of Syrian people. The meeting called on all Syrian stakeholders to shun the path of violence and resort to the peaceful means of dialogue and negotiations to settle the crisis.

In the face of the failure to achieve any progress in the attempts to steer towards a serious peaceful dialogue and continued killings and destructions, the OIC declared its support for the solution adopted by the League of Arab States and for Dr. Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan which, has so far met with no positive response.

Distinguished delegates,

The OIC convened the Second Executive Committee Meeting at the Ministerial level on the 24 June 2012 at its Headquarters. The meeting strongly condemned the continuing bloodshed by all parties in Syria, underlined the primary responsibility of the Syrian Government in the continuation of violence and expressed its serious concern at the deteriorating situation in the country. In this connection, it called for an immediate end to the violence and for full respect for Islamic values and human rights as well as for saving the country from the risk of a full civil war with grave consequences on the Syrian people and the region. The Meeting strongly urged the Syrian Government to immediately end the use of excessive force against Syrian nationals and to respond to the legitimate aspirations and demands of its citizens; it further expressed its support to the ongoing diplomatic initiatives to end violence in Syria.

The meeting recommended to the next CFM meeting which will be held in Djibouti the suspension of the membership of the Syrian Arab Republic from the OIC. The Meeting called on the UNSC to take its full responsibility to put an end to the ongoing violence and bloodshed in Syria through a durable political solution and urged the Council to consider the situation in Syria under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. In addition, the meeting strongly deplored the shooting down by Syria of a Turkish military plane, and considers it an action which poses a grave threat to the regional security and stability.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To conclude, I wish to call upon the international community to work more actively towards ending the bloodshed and reversing the ordeal of the Syrian people. I wish our deliberations every success in evolving specific recommendations which will contribute to finding an immediate solution to the grave Syrian crisis.

I thank you all for your kind attention.




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Call for submissions of information on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on June 7, 2012

In preparation for the Secretary-General’s forthcoming report, The Civil Society Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights encourages you to provide input (see para.10, General Assembly resolution 66/167).

Guidance note on contributions:

1. Responses should not exceed five pages (supporting documents can be attached)

2. Bearing in mind the text of General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/167, responses may wish to reflect the following:

a. General information on the implementation of the resolution 

b. Information concerning steps taken by countries to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief as set forth in the resolution, including measures and policies 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;

– 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 

– encourage the representation and meaningful participation of individuals, irrespective of their religion or belief, in all sectors of society;

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

– 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; and,

– 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.

Send your contribution, five pages (max.), by 15 June 2012 to

Source: Bangkok ONHRC

Posted in Freedom of Religion, Human Rights and Islam, OIC Member States and UN Human Rights Mechanism | Leave a Comment »

The OIC on Democracy and Human Rights

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

Interview with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General, Organization of the Islamic Conference

Interviewer: Toni Johnson, Senior Editor/Senior Staff Writer
October 1, 2010      

With Islam the subject of intense scrutiny around the world, the Organization of the Islamic Conference–a group of fifty-six Islamic states–has launched efforts to take a broader role in international affairs. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, secretary-general for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, says the organization is working on a meeting of religious scholars in Afghanistan similar to one it had in Iraq in 2006 to address sectarian violence and remind people “that nothing in Islam would allow them to kill anybody.” İhsanoğlu says Islam is compatible with democracy but notes sometimes the road to democracy is not easy. “It’s not that everybody is born democratic,” he says. “We have to work for that. We consider what happened in Afghanistan a step forward to democracy.”

You’ve said that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is trying to organize a meeting of religious scholars, or ulema, for Afghanistan to combat radicalism. How this would work and what might it accomplish? You mentioned something the OIC had done similarly in Iraq?

In Iraq, during the heat of the sectarian fighting between Sunni and Shiite, and [with] civil war in sight, we looked to the matter. There were many attempts of reconciling, and I said, “Let’s take one aspect.” We took on the sectarian issue between the Sunnis and Shiites. We had in our organization a jurisprudence academy where scholars get together–this is separate from our political work. I asked them to prepare the ground for a meeting where we could get these people together.

Then we had to lobby with the ulema, all the leaders of sects in Iraq, to convince the muftis, the ayatollahs, to come together. Then we organized a kind of Islamic [consensus] to shun killing on basis of religious affiliation. We asked them to send their representative, and we sat together working a kind of an agreement, on the basis of religious texts, that prohibits killing on any basis.

Then we invited the grand ulemas–the grand muftis, the grand ayatollahs–and they came. It was October 2006 that they signed the [Makkah Al-Mukarramah] document and it was announced. Immediately it received big support from all over the Muslim world. Everybody committed himself to it. That was the way that violence on the basis of sectarianism stopped, because we reminded them that nothing in Islam would allow them to kill anybody–to kill people on the ground of if they’re Sunnis or Shiites or to destroy the mosques or shrines. Now the time has come to do that in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan recently had parliamentary elections in which voting fraud has been an issue. Last year’s presidential election in Iran was also contested. How important is democracy promotion and reform to the OIC? And given the challenges of some member states, how do you see OIC’s role in promoting democracy?

I do believe, firmly, that democracy is compatible with Islam. I think the parliamentarian system also is compatible with Islam. And I think the only way now for any society, whether a Muslim society or otherwise, to have good governance is through democracy. This is my personal conviction, and I think, to a great extent, I managed to put this in the new charter (PDF).

I come from [Turkey] which is fully democratic, where you have the change of power, change of govern

ment goes by
 ballot not by bullet. [But] European societies, Western societies, America–they did not reach this level in one goal. You see revolutions, civil wars, crowns were beheaded. And some European countries–not the socialist ones who joined the Western club after the demise of the Soviet Union, but even in Western Europe, countries like Spain, like Portugal–lately joined democracy. In my generation there were no democracies in many European countries. 

It’s not that everybody is born democratic. We have to work for that. We consider what happened in Afghanistan a step forward to democracy. 

The OIC adopted a separate Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in 1990, a parallel document to the UN’s 1948 Universal Human Rights Declaration. Why do Muslims need a separate declaration? Are there provisions of the 1948 declaration that Muslims think are not, indeed, universal?

I believe that universal human rights are compatible with Islam, and I have no problem on that. I had made a statement in Geneva in the Humans Rights Council that we look forward to integrating our system [the Cairo declaration] with the United Nations system, and now we have established a new human rights committee for us.

Of course, you should not also deny or exclude other sensitive matters. There are certain areas where you have to respect the cultural diversity of the people. You should not take that everybody has to follow you 100 percent, because you don’t follow others 100 percent.

You’ve indicated that the 2005 Danish cartoon incident, in which Mohammed was depicted as a terrorist, was intended to incite hatred. The OIC is pushing for the UN Resolution on Defamation of Religions, which is intended to protect Islam from insult. Some critics see it as a potential international legal mechanism for censorship.

We are not for censorship. This is wrong notion, and the resolutions we’ve been submitting to the UN and will be [submitting to the] Humans Rights Council in Geneva or General Assembly don’t speak only about one religion. They speaks about religions, with “s.” So it is not only for ours. Of course we have to defend our faith. We have to defend our holy prophet, our values, and everybody, as we so respect others. We ask people to respect us, because dehumanizing, stigmatizing, insulting others is not freedom of expression at all.

There are plenty of things said in political discourse that could be construed as insulting. How do you decide what can and cannot be said?

Politics has its own rules, its own norms. This is a subject matter that doesn’t relate to our criticism or our sensitivity. In the Jyllands-Posten in my visit to Denmark, that same newspaper which published the cartoons, I said, “We are not against critique. You can criticize us as much as you like.” And there has been a literature of critique within Islam itself, otherwise all these mazhab schools of thought would not have come up. And European scholars, Russian scholars, American scholars, Muslim scholars themselves have written many books and critiques of many aspects of Islam.

The problem is that when you make a public insult by publishing demonizing cartoons, stigmatizing the Holy Prophet in a newspaper or in the TV or in the film, when you write a book, when you write an article, you challenge the feelings of 150 billion people who consider Mohammad as their holy prophet. Don’t show him as a terrorist, don’t show him in a naked way, don’t ridicule him. Like any other red line you have in any other culture. In many countries where these cartoons were published, the king or the queen or the head of state has a certain respect and nobody can criticize him or ridicule him. The same goes for the flag of the country.

In the United States, you are free to ridicule your leaders, you can burn the flag, you can desecrate any sacred object.

But in other countries it is not the case. You don’t need to ridicule Jesus Christ or to burn the Bible. This is an insult. Is burning the Quran or the Bible a sign of freedom? If I come and punch you, is it a sign of freedom? This is not ideas. There is a limit of decency. There is a limit of freedom. Your freedom ends where my freedom starts. You need freedom and responsibility. Otherwise it will be jungle.

Who decides what is sacred and what’s not sacred?

The international community decides. We are not are not encroaching on freedom of expression. We invite people to respect our values as they expect us to respect their values.

There’s a vocal anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States right now. How does this political discussion look to Muslims in the rest of the world?

These are unjustified sensitivities. That those who perpetrated 9/11 were Muslims; that is not the same as “Islam is responsible for that.” To equate them to Islam and say Islam that was the reason for that, that’s simplemindedness. They didn’t kill only Christians or Americans. There were Muslims who were killed there.

Source: Council on Foreign Relation 

Posted in Human Rights and Islam, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

OIC Human Rights Commission and the Challenges Ahead

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

By Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu  (Secretary General of the OIC)

With the approach of the first official session of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) in Jakarta, Indonesia on Feb. 20, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is embarking on a path replete with challenges, not the least of which is promoting and protecting human rights in the Muslim world.

It seemed only appropriate that a year marked by popular uprising in different parts of the Muslim world against injustice, corruption and abuse of power should conclude with the landmark establishment of a human rights commission duly equipped with a progressive vision and mandate.

The announcement of establishing the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission at the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) in Astana, Kazakhstan in June 2011 is a milestone achievement that is part of a process for restructuring the OIC, which began in 2005 at the Extraordinary Summit in Makkah.

The historical significance of establishing the commission is derived not only from the timing but also from the foresight and commitment of the member states reflected in the decision. The statute of the commission entered into force within the considerably short time of three years after it was accorded the statutory status by the new OIC charter adopted in Senegal in 2008.

The establishment of the Commission is the start of a new journey for reform in the Muslim world, and it will most likely be a long and strenuous journey.

One of the main factors that would contribute to the success of the IPHRC is proving its credibility in the shortest time. This shall be a real and serious test for joint Islamic action in one of its most sensitive and significant aspects. This shall also reflect the seriousness of the IPHRC and its abidance by the principles of the OIC Ten-Year Program of Action (TYPOA) adopted in the Makkah Summit in 2005 and the spirit of the new OIC Charter.

The commission is launching its activities in a highly charged period of rising Islamophobia. In some sections of Western mind and media there are deep-seated misperceptions — due, in large measure, to either ignorance or deliberate misrepresentation — regarding incompatibility between Islam and human rights. We have to acknowledge that human rights violations occur in the Muslim world as in other parts of the world. It would, however, be a mistake to associate or confuse such violations with Islam. Islam was the first religion in the world that called for full equality among people regardless of their race, language, ethnic origin, social status, etc. It emphasized and enforced the concept of “rights” long before it acquired currency in modern existence.

It is in this backdrop that the 18-member commission — four of whom are women — is faced with an onerous task. However, the commission gains its confidence from the realization for the need to serve the Ummah and all humanity toward peace, harmony and coexistence. Therefore, one of its primary roles is to complement the efforts and contributions of other international organizations in this area and interact positively with them.

The commission will also turn a critical eye inward, of introspection, as a unique instrument for self-reform that helps the Ummah rectify any defects. It is meant to adopt a corrective rather than a value-judgmental approach, build capacities and provide solutions for the OIC member states in the area of human rights in a gradual and sustainable manner. Naturally, the nascent IPHRC is not expected to perform its duties in an optimal manner immediately after its establishment or do everything at the same time; so the need for prioritization is essential. It would take an incremental and progressive approach.

I sincerely hope that the commission will have the support, cooperation and encouragement it needs and deserves from the member states as well as the international community to perform its functions for the benefit of the member states and the world at large.

Finally, the establishment of the IPHRC is stemmed from a vision that takes into account the inevitability of progress. It thus counters those outdated concepts that confine the OIC to a limited frame of action ignoring the broader potentialities that should be invested in to achieve the aspirations of the billion and a half Muslims worldwide.  

Source: Arab News, Februari 16th, 2012

Posted in Human Rights and Islam, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Statement Of The OIC Secretary General International Ministerial Conference On Refugees In The Muslim World

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

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
11-12 MAY 2012

Your Excellency Mr. Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOV the President of Turkmenistan,

Your Excellency Antonio Guterres, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,

Your Excellencies Ministers and Heads of Delegation,
Distinguished Delegates,

Distinguished Observers and Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to address you as we all gather here today in the opening session of the OIC International Ministerial Conference on Situation of Refugees in the Muslim World. At the outset, I wish, on behalf of all of us, to express our sincere thanks and deep appreciation to H.E. the President of Turkmenistan, the Government and People of Turkmenistan for hosting this important conference. At the same time, I express my appreciation for the High Commissioner for Refugees and my utmost satisfaction for the effective partnership between our two organizations, in a process that successfully led to the convening of this Conference. We also thank all OIC Member States and institutions and others who have made various contributions and in different forms, to facilitate the holding of this historic humanitarian event.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we took a decision within the OIC to hold this Conference on Refugees, we established a partnership with the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in order to ensure that this humanitarian endeavor serves our noble objectives and translates the will of our member states into actions that satisfy our moral, legal and deeply rooted humanitarianism. Providing asylum, protecting refugees and assisting them in compassion and conviction are fundamental pillars in our Islamic tradition. Assisting and protecting refugees, irrespective of their faith, color or ethnic origin ,is not only a legal obligation, but also a moral and a religious duty as stipulated in these teachings and embodied in deeds throughout history within the Muslim World. The idea of protecting ” Almustamin” or asylum seeker was never compromised in these teachings and practices. Hence, the extradition of “Almustamin” was prohibited, a notion which was much later in history, came to be known in international refugee law as the principle of “non-refoulment” a corner stone of modern refugee law.

In essence, there is total compatibility between refugee principles in Islam and those of our modern day international refugee law. This doctrinal base, has been a strong driving force in our efforts to play an effective role in the humanitarian arena, not only within the domain of our member states, but also, whenever possible, beyond that and in the world at large.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are over 17 million refugees and displaced persons within the OIC Member countries, and that includes some protracted refugee situations . We should tirelessly continue to make every effort possible , to address these refugee and displacement situations, with provision of assistance and protection, as the case may be, in a purely humanitarian effort . We should also engage , with the will of all concerned governments, in durable and lasting solutions to these refugee situations, in order to end the suffering of these human beings and enhance social harmony, peace ,stability and development. Our common political will and coordinated efforts are corollaries for achieving this objective, and I must hasten to add here that this is an international problem that goes beyond state or even continental borders and its solutions require solidarity of the international community while cooperating with all sovereign governments concerned. In this light, we see the objective of this Ministerial Conference as a historic opportunity to shed ample light on the refugee problem in the Muslim World, mobilize efforts to address this humanitarian problem and find ways and means of enhancing these efforts. Such collective and well coordinated approaches will no doubt generate solutions that address the immediate humanitarian needs and aim at the root causes within a long term and durable arrangements for the interest of all.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is evident that refugee problems are not limited to the Muslim World and they have been experienced in all regions, in all cultures and in all religions. Our endeavors within the OIC is not meant to overdramatize this problem in our midst, but rather meant to give it its proportionate and realistic dues. We all know that we do live in a less- than- perfect world community and coexistence amongst states and communities requires interaction of different cultures in an environment of multiculturalism. Hence, refugee situations continue to be products of intolerance, xenophobia, injustice, denial of basic rights, conflict over resources domestically or across state borders and instances of foreign intervention. Accordingly, we look forward to see that, root causes are addressed consciously, objectively and systematically. Standards should therefore be set without subjective variations, while addressing these problems, and I can assure you that the OIC member states have been exerting strenuous efforts to assist in refugee and displacement situations without any shadow of subjective factors. And we will continue these efforts within the OIC and we will maintain coordination and collaboration, whenever possible, with UNHCR and all other humanitarian organizations dedicated to this humanitarian cause.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we consider the cases of refugees in the Muslim World , we should underscore the plight and injustice to which the Palestinian refugees continue to be subjected. Their situation, being the most protracted situation of refugees in the world since the late 1940s remained unresolved and their rights continue to be usurped unless a political settlement is concluded within the UN resolutions and the Arab Initiative, guaranteeing their legitimate rights. Thus, theirs is not just a refugee humanitarian issue, but it is a political cause that should be dealt with accordingly. The OIC member states, continue to make all possible efforts for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to remind us all that this Conference is indeed a land mark event in our search for solutions to problems of true humanitarian nature. To this end, we reiterate our commitment to a strategic partnership with UNHCR and we will continue to find ways and means of appropriate and effective cooperation with them and others to achieve our noble humanitarian objectives. For this reason, we hope that declaration of this conference would help us charting the way forward.

Finally, Let me take the opportunity, to reiterate that our OIC Charter and our guiding principles enable us to remain an effective force of wisdom, peace and fruitful dialogue, in a world faced by constant economic, political and social challenges. Indeed, no one would dispute the fact that refugees are amongst the most vulnerable populations and they deserve our serious attention. It is not only an attention of the moment, but it is an attention of our political resolve, an attention of provision of lasting solutions , in a spirit of international burden sharing. In sum, let us turn the refugee challenges into opportunities for action.

I wish all, fruitful, substantive and inspiring deliberations and above all a successful outcome.

I thank you.

Suorce: OIC Secretariat General

Posted in Human Rights and Islam, OIC Meeting, Other Rights, Press Release, Turkmenistan | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Islam Dorong Toleransi Moderasi dalam pemikiran agama perlu dikembangkan

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


Republika, 15 Mei 2012

Tindakan tak toleran dan menjurus pada kekerasan atas nama agama tak mencerminkan ajaran Islam.
Hal ini disampaikan Ketua AdInterim Komisi Independen HAM Organisasi Konferensi Islam (IPHRC-OKI) Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatun dalam diskusi publik di Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta, Senin (14/5).

Dialog dalam penyelesaian masalah, termasuk dengan sesama Muslim, sangat dianjurkan. Menurut Ruhaini, Piagam OKI menyatakan bersatunya umat Islam dalam organisasi ini bertujuan memajukan nilai perdamaian, toleransi, dan keadilan. “Nilai-nilai inilah yang dapat digunakan untuk melestarikan univer salitas Islam,“ katanya.

Dengan demikian, negaranegara yang bergabung dengan organisasi ini mampu menuntun warga negaranya yang Muslim, khususnya mampu berlaku toleran terhadap nonMuslim dan saudara Muslim yang berbeda pandangan.
Dalam konteks ini, kata Ruhaini, OKI mengembangkan reformasi, moderasi, dan modernisasi di negara-negara anggotanya.

Bukan hanya itu, melalui aksi 10 tahun, mulai 2005 hingga 2015, OKI menentang semua bentuk ekstremisme, tindakan kekerasan, serta terorisme.
“Kami juga menentang berkembangnya Islamofobia,“ jelasnya. Ia menganjurkan agar moderasi pemikiran agama dikembangkan untuk mengatasi sikap intoleransi yang terkadang muncul.

Dengan demikian, kelompok ekstrem didorong agar tak membiarkan dirinya melakukan tindakan kekerasan. Sebab, di masyarakat ada keberagaman yang tak bisa dihindarkan.
“Bila tak dicoba, dampaknya akan buruk bagi citra umat Islam serta membuka jalan bagi kelompok tertentu memanfaatkan kondisi ini,“ jelas Ruhaini.

Direktur Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (CSRC) UIN Syarif Hida yatullah Irfan Abubakar melihat, kekerasan yang ditempuh sekelompok orang terjadi karena perbedaan melihat konsep kebebasan beragama. Bagi sebagian masyarakat, kebebasan itu dinilai berbahaya bagi kualitas keimanan dan umat Islam. Menurut dia, dari sinilah muncul golongan keras.

Meski, ia mengakui, kebebasan itu milik semua orang, termasuk mereka yang dianggap sebagai kelompok garis keras. Dalam survei yang dilakukan lembaganya, jelas Irfan, ditemukan bahwa tingkat religiusitas masyarakat di Indonesia tinggi. Meski demikian, didapati pula fakta bahwa mereka tak menganggap tindakan bertoleransi dengan cara menghargai kelompok lain sebagai bagian penting religiusitas.


Posted in Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Religion, Human Rights and Islam, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), Indonesia | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Kaum Muslim Moderat Harus Lebih Lantang

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

Senin, 14 Mei 2012 | 23:09 WIB

JAKARTA, — Kaum Muslim moderat di Indonesia masih merupakan mayoritas dan menjadi arus utama. Namun, mereka diminta untuk bersuara lebih lantang, terutama dalam menolak tindakan intoleran atas nama agama, apalagi disertai dengan kekerasan.

“Penolakan atas tindakan intoleran harus disuarakan lebih keras oleh mayoritas umat Islam yang moderat. Jika tidak, sikap antiperbedaan pendapat dan kebebasan berpikir itu akan semakin mendapat tempat di negara yang menjamin kebebasan berpendapat dan berkeyakinan,” kata anggota Komisi Independen Hak Asasi Manusia (HAM) Organisasi Kerja Sama Islam (OKI), Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, di Jakarta, Senin (14/5/2012).

Menurut Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, ada sejumlah kasus yang menggambarkan toleransi di kalangan masyarakat Indonesia belakangan ini semakin tergerus. Salah satunya, penolakan dan pembubaran diskusi dengan pemikir Muslim asal Kanada, Irshad Manji, di Jakarta dan di Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) Yogyakarta.

Pada saat bersamaan, kontroversi atas keberadaan jemaah Ahmadiyah dan Syiah juga masih terus bergulir.

Untuk mengantisipasi kondisi itu, kaum Muslim moderat yang merupakan arus utama umat Islam di Indonesia diharapkan tidak tinggal diam atas perilaku tidak toleran dan kekerasan atas nama agama.

“Jika kekerasan ini dibiarkan, dan kelompok mayoritas moderat tidak bersuara, situasinya bakal semakin mengkhawatirkan,” katanya.

Komisi HAM OKI sudah membahas soal ini. “Semua komisioner sepakat, kelompok minoritas harus dilindungi, termasuk di Indonesia. Indonesia harus menunjukkan keseriusan untuk menjaga aset penting sebagai bangsa, yaitu hasrat untuk hidup bersama dan menerima perbedaan,” katanya.

Posted in Freedom of Religion, Human Rights and Islam, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), Indonesia, OIC Human Rights News | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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 »

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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Posted in Human Rights and Islam, International Human Rights, OIC Human Rights News, OIC Meeting | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

First Session OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on February 27, 2012

First Session OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission. Jakarta, Indonesia, 20 – 27 February 2012.

Posted in CSO Participation, Human Rights and Islam, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) | Leave a Comment »

Tantangan dan Harapan Pada Sidang Pertama Komisi HAM OKI

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on February 27, 2012

Press Release

Tantangan dan Harapan Pada Sidang Pertama

Komisi HAM Independen OKI Harus Bekerja Sesuai dengan Standrat Internasional


Kami mendorong dalam sidang pertama IPHRC (Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission/ Komisi HAM Independen OKI) di Jakarta 20-24 Februari 2012, agar IPHRC mensepakati konsep Prosedure (Rule of Procedure) yang tidak bertentangan dengan prinsip-prinsip HAM internasional. Dalam sidang Pertama ini agenda sidang yang krusial adalah perumusan rule of Procedure, yang harus sesuai dengan prinsip-prinsip hak asasi manusia.

Prinsip-prinsip itu, antara lain:

  1. Prinsip keterbukaan  dan membuka keterlibatan masyarakat sipil. Prinsip ini penting dalam konteks akuntabilitas IPHRC, apalagi dalam sejarahnya OKI memiliki karakter tertutup dan memilki banyak anggota yang menolak hak asasi manusia dan prinsip akuntabilitas.

Pelibatan masyarakat penting bagi kerja dan kemajuan HAM di Negara-Negara anggota OKI. Pelibatan ini dapat berupa membuka komunikasi komplain pelanggaran HAM yang terjadi maupun penyampaikan laporan berbagai dinamika HAM yang berkembang di dunia, khususnya berkaitan dengan HAM dan Islam.

  1. Prinsip Akuntabilitas. IPHRC harus mendorong mekanisme pertanggungjawaban berkala atas kinerjanya dan semua yang telah dilakukan dalam konteks hak asasi manusia. Pertanggungjawaban ini harus diberikan kepada publik, tidak hanya diberikan pada pertemuan para menteri luar negeri.

Petanggungjawaban kepada publik akan menbuat kepercayaan publik membaik, karena selama ini terdapat kecurigaan terhadap OKI yang membuat IPHRC untuk menghindari pertanggungjawaban HAM oleh komunitas Internasional.

Selain berkaitan dengan Prinsip IPHRC harus berani menjawab tantangan Pelanggaran HAM yang banyak terjadi di berbagai Negara-negara anggota OKI. Tantangan itu terkait berbagai masalah, antara lain:

  1. Hak kebebesan Beragama dan berkeyakinan. Masalah ini terkait dengan isu penodaan agama, tindakan intoleransi dan kekerasan. IPHRC harus berani masuk dalam isu kebebasan Beragama dengan menggunakan prisip-prinsip Internasional. Dalam konteks internasional, defamasi/penodaan agama tidak menjadi bagian dalam skema HAM, sementara di banyak negara anggota OKI, termasuk di Indonesia itu menjadi masalah. Dalam konteks HAM defamasi tidak masuk dikarenakan, obyek sasarannya tidak berwujud, sangat subyektif penilain orang/obyektifitas sulit dicapai, dan dalam berbagai praktik menyerang kebebasan berpikir (salah satu hak dasar yang tidak dapat dikurangi), dan cenderung ada penyalagunaan kekuasaan dan mayoritas. Apalagi, Negara-negara OKI telah menyepakati adanya pengharpusan Defamasi Agama melalui Resolusi Dewan HAM PBB tahun 2011.
  2. Hak kebebasan Bereksperesi dan mendapatkan Informasi. Hal ini sesuai dengan konteks demokratisasi di berbagai Negara-negara anggota OKI khususnya di jazirah arab (Arab Spring).
  3. Buruh Migrant. Negara-negara anggota OKI memiliki dua karakter, sebagian Negara tujuan dan Negara pengirim. Dalam berbagai cacatan pelanggaran terhadap buruh migran yang terjadi di Negara tujuan, di Negara-negara OKI-lah paling banyak catatan pelanggaran buruh migran.
  4. Perempuan. Masalah terbesar HAM dam Islam dalam konteks ini adalah kesetaraan perempuan, baik dalam ruang privat maupun publik yang mengakibatkan ketidakadilan dan berbagai sumber kekerasan.

Dalam kesempatan ini, kami memberikan apresiasi kepada komisioner IPHCR dari Indonesia dan Sekertariat OKI yang telah berpartisipasi dalam acara masyarakat sipil yang telah diselenggarakan kemarin (19/2/2012). Partisipasi ini menjadi awal yang baik untuk menunjukkan IPHCR ke depan yang lebih tranparan dan akuntable.


Jakarta, 20 Februari 2012

Muhammad Choirul Anam

Wakil Direktur Human Rights Working Group (HRWG)

Posted in CSO Participation, Human Rights and Islam, Indonesia, Regional Mechanism of Human Rights | Leave a Comment »

Inistiative Meeting of OIC IPHRC

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on December 12, 2011

Inistiative Meeting of OIC IPHRC

Jeddah, 7 – 8 Desember 2011

Posted in Human Rights and Islam, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), OIC Human Rights News, OIC Journal, Regional Mechanism of Human Rights | Leave a Comment »