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OIC takes steps to empower women

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


WOMAN POWER: Maha Akeel, chief editor of OIC Journal, delivering the opening statement and introducing the short film made by the Information Department for the occasion. (An photo)

JEDDAH, by HABIB SHAIKH  | Published — Tuesday 11 March 2014

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) celebrated International Women’s Day at its headquarters on Sunday.

This is the first time that the organization held an event to mark the occasion in support and appreciation of women and their role in society.

The OIC event focused in particular on Muslim women and the challenges they face, whether at home, at work or in society.

The OIC is mandated to explore opportunities for women to take part in the development of Muslim society and enhance their capacity in order to enable them to play an active role in all walks of life in its 57 member states.

Invitees were briefed on the various programs, projects and activities undertaken by the OIC to empower women and advance their status during numerous presentations made by the organization’s different departments.

The OIC highlighted its programs, projects and activities in various fields, such as education, health, humanitarian, economy and human rights domains, in support of women in the Muslim world.

The celebration included a photo and caricature exhibition and a short film highlighting the obstacles to women enjoying their full rights. The event also highlighted achievements and success stories of women in those states.

Ambassador Abdullah Ali, assistant secretary-general for Political Affairs, welcomed invitees from the diplomatic corps, intellectuals and media personalities on behalf of Secretary-General Iyad Madani.

Ali said that the anniversary demonstrates the interest and honor devoted to Muslim women by expressing collective pride in their distinctive status and roles, confirmation of their legitimate rights and unwavering support for their contributions as full-fledged partners in construction, development and progress in the Muslim world.

The event was celebrated under the slogan “Equality for women is progress for all,” reflecting an approach that has become a prerequisite for women’s empowerment.

The event also sought to address the conditions of economic vulnerability, social exclusion and injustice under which Muslim women live, which include deprivation of education and the right to a decent life.

Ali said that the OIC believes that helping women improve their status and strengthening the role of legislative bodies will guarantee women protection against discrimination and violence and would ensure their participation in the development and decision-making process.

Member states had adopted an action plan for women’s advancement based on political commitments and pledges made by the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference in Makkah in 2005.

Source: Arab News

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OIC Rights (IPHRC) 4th Session

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


JEDDAH, by IBRAHIM NAFFEE | Published — Monday 3 February 2014

The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) began its fourth session in Jeddah on Sunday in the presence of new secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation Iyad Madni and chairman of the OIC IPHRC Ambassador Muhammad Kawu Ibrahim.

The commission will have in-depth discussions during its five-day event on some very important and contemporary issues such as Islamophobia and discrimination based on religion, human rights violations of Palestinian people and the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

In the weeklong session, the commission is expected to comprehensively discuss all issues on its agenda, including the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the OIC member states.

Source: Arab News

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Fourth Session of the IPHRC

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


Jeddah | February 5, 2014

IGO welcomes the discussion at the Commission’s fourth session and supports the Commission’s objectives to strengthen the global framework of human rights collectively.

On February 2nd, the fourth session of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission started in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where the panelists will sit for five days to discuss civil, political, social and economic rights in the Member States.

The Commission is the principal organ of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the domain of human rights.

Iyad Amin Madani, the Secretary General of OIC, pointed to four challenges facing the Commission: limitations on freedom of expression, gender equality, applying human rights in accordance with the Member States constitutional and legal systems, and stopping the spread of extreme voices in the Member States.

Madani stressed extremism is a violation of all rights of Muslims as Islam is the first religion that laid down a framework for human rights and he called for all Muslims to spread the message of Islam as a guarantor of human rights and tackle extremism and fanaticism.

The Commission has done commendable work to help minorities and Muslim communities outside the Member States to maintain their dignity, culture and religious identity, particularly in Palestine and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The Commission consists of 18 Members, who serve in their personal capacity in supporting Member States for the promotion and protection of human rights for all in an independent manner, in accordance with the OIC Charter and its Statute.

Source: IGO

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Human rights experts’ recommendations to Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission

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


10 November 2013 | by Turan Kayaoglu  and Marie Juul Petersen 

The international human rights community faces daunting challenges in advancing human rights in the Muslim world.
Despite being well placed to address those challenges, the most important organization among Muslim states, the OIC, has so far failed to do so. Over the course of the past decade, the OIC has been working to correct this. It has become an active participant in international debates concerning human rights.
In 2008, the organiza¬tion’s charter was revised to include the promo¬tion and protection of “human rights and funda¬mental freedoms” among its goals. The revised charter also paved the way for an Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights (IPHRC) to promote the civil, social, and economic rights enshrined in the organization’s human rights documents. In establishing the IPHRC and thereby formalizing its human rights agenda, the OIC has taken an important step in the right direction.
In September, a group of specialists in Islam and human rights came together at the Danish Institute for Human Rights in Copenhagen to discuss the IPHRC’s potential as an advocate for human rights in OIC’s member states. The group formulated a set of recommendations which were sent to the OIC, outlined at the end of this article.

Introduction

In June 2011, foreign ministers of countries part of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) met in Kazakhstan to establish a new human rights commission: The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC). After first meeting in Jakarta in February 2012 and Ankara in August 2012, the commission concluded its third session in Jeddah in October 2013.

With a mandate to ”advance human rights” and “support the Member States’ efforts to consolidate civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,” the IPHRC has the potential to become a much-needed forum for constructive exchange of experiences, introspection and internal criticism among OIC member states. As a government representative said at the meeting in Kazakhstan: “It will be 100 times better to hear what is happening in our countries from our own people rather than from the outside world.” But if the IPHRC is to live up to its potential and not end up serving as window-dressing for notorious human rights violators, it needs to strengthen and clarify its position with regard to a number of areas.

Introducing human rights to the OIC agenda

The OIC was founded in 1969 for the purpose of strengthening solidarity among Muslims. In its first decades, the organization focused especially on the Palestinian cause, the protection of Islamic holy sites and the strengthening of economic cooperation between member states.

Currently, as an intergovernmen¬tal body, it is second only to the UN in terms of membership and scope. It has 57 members – most, not all, are Muslim-majority states. It deals with a range of issues: peace and conflict resolu-tion, Muslim minority communities, women’s and children’s rights, humanitarian assistance, com¬bating Islamophobia, the promotion of intra-OIC trade and investment, cultural exchange, and education.

International human rights were not high on the agenda. On the contrary, in 1991, the organization presented the so-called Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, introducing what many human rights scholars considered an alternative set of rights that were based on certain interpretations of Islamic law that are contrary to international human rights standards. Together with the grave human rights violations of many member states, initiatives such as this one have given the OIC a dubious reputation with respect to international human rights.

In 2005, a plan to reform the organization, the “Ten-Year Programme of Action,” was introduced, resulting in major changes. An important part of this was the introduction of human rights to the OIC agenda, in particular the establishment of the IPHRC.  “Establishment of an independent human rights body by the OIC Member States is considered to be one of the major steps in the transformation process of the OIC,” an OIC newsletter states.

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission

The IPHRC was formally established in June 2011 and held its first session in January 2012. The commission consists in 18 experts, of whom six are from the Arab member states, six from the Asian member states and six from African member states. All experts are elected for a period of four years. According to the statutes, the IPHRC and its 18 experts will work to “advance human rights” and “support the Member States’ efforts to consolidate civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.” This is to be done through providing counseling and legal advice to member states, information campaigns, research and cooperation with other human rights organizations.

At the inaugural speech in IPHRC’s first session in Jakarta in 2012 and during the opening remarks at the third session on Oct. 26, 2013 in Jeddah, the secretary-general, Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, outlined five principles. First, the commission will complement rather than replace other national and international human rights mechanisms. Second, it will follow an introspective approach, helping OIC member states improve human rights practices. Third, it will fulfill a guidance function, providing member states with services like human rights training for the police. Fourth, it will take an incremental approach, building its credibility and mandate over time. And finally, the commission will prioritize the most pressing hu¬man rights problems. These principles put forward by İhsanoğlu were also endorsed by the commission.

Human rights experts’ recommendations to the IPHRC

In September 2013, the Danish Institute for Human Rights invited a group of international human rights researchers to discuss the OIC’s new human rights approach, with a particular focus on the IPHRC. Due to the relative novelty of the IPHRC and the scarcity of concrete initiatives, statements and activities proposed by the commission so far, the researchers did not find that there was ground for an evaluation of the IPHRC as such.

The specialists also noted that despite its shortcomings, the IPHRC has poten¬tial to become an advocate of human rights in the OIC’s member states. To this end, the group formulated a number of recommendations for the commission to take into consideration in its future work.

The following recommendations, proposed by the human rights experts, whose members are listed below, offer concrete suggestions for how the IPHRC can realize its mission in a way that is consistent with the above five principles that İhsanoğlu outlined and the commission endorsed.

The IPHRC should affirm and uphold internationally agreed upon human rights standards and instruments. This includes:

  • Recognition by commissioners that OIC member states are bound by international human rights obligations.
  • Agreement among commissioners that international human rights treaties constitute minimum standards and that regional human rights instruments must always meet, or exceed, these minimum standards.
  • Agreement among commissioners to use only international human rights law as the benchmark in assessing all human rights issues, and clarification of the status of the Cairo Declaration to this end.
  • Review of existing member states’ reservations to international human rights treaties, and elaboration of recommendations to remove reservations that undermine the object and purpose of the treaty in question.
  • Affirmation of Shariah consistency with international human rights law by rejecting interpretations of Shariah that violate or undermine international human rights law and by elaborating alternative interpretations that respect and further international human rights law.

The IPHRC should encourage and practice transparency and accessibility in its activities. This includes:

  • Publication of a comprehensive calendar of meeting times and places well in advance to facilitate participation from civil society, media and other actors interested in the IPHRC.
  • Establishment of a system for the rotation of sessions across member states.
  • Development and maintenance of a regularly updated website with information on IPHRC activities and statements, as well as other human rights-related OIC activities.
  • Establishment of an IPHRC secretariat in a place that is easily accessible to civil society, media and others within and outside the OIC.

The IPHRC should engage with civil society and encourage its participation in the IPHRC’s work. This includes:

  • Facilitation of civil society access to IPHRC sessions.
  • Organization of civil society forums in parallel with all IPHRC sessions.
  • Establishment of cooperation with human rights-related think tanks and research institutions inside and outside the OIC member states.
  • Facilitation of inter-sessional dialogue with civil society organizations.
  • Facilitation of human rights and civil society organizations’ access and lobby to the member states’ governments.

The IPHRC should engage in regional and international collaboration. This includes:

  • Adoption of a common strategy with regional organizations (e.g., the OSCE, or Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) for addressing issues of religious intolerance.
  • Establishment of institutionalized relations with international human rights mechanisms. These relations could be maintained by holding every third IPHRC session in Geneva or New York.
  • Establishment of relations with OIC member states and other relevant experts in UN bodies, possibly by establishment of external advisory board to the IPHRC.
  • Appointment of an IPHRC focal person in Geneva to facilitate regular communication with UN human rights bodies.

The IPHRC should strengthen its internal composition. This includes:

  • Promotion of gender diversity among IPHRC commissioners.
  • Promotion of religious diversity among IPHRC commissioners.
  • Ensuring the independence of commissioners.
  • Establishment of transparent mechanisms for selecting candidates, ensuring public access to and information on the pool of candidates.
  • Establishment of a mechanism that ensures nomination and election of experts with a strong record of defending international human rights standards.

The IPHRC should strengthen OIC and member state capacities and knowledge on human rights. This includes:

  • Promotion of peer-to-peer capacity development.
  • Promotion of capacity development by external human rights experts.
  • Mainstreaming of outputs to relevant OIC agencies and departments.
  • Regular publication of thematic reports on human rights in member states.
  • Regular publication of country-specific reports.

After completing the above steps, the IPHRC (and the OIC) should ensure sustainable resources for its work. This includes:

  • Upgrade of human resources in the IPHRC secretariat.
  • Strengthening the IPHRC and its secretariat’s fundraising capacity.
  • Encouragement of in-kind support by international human rights experts, institutions and organizations.
  • Advertisement of volunteer positions and internships with the IPHRC.
  • Introduction of a system for secondment with other international human rights institutions and organizations.

Signatories*

Evelyn Aswad, professor, College of Law, Oklahoma University, US

Mashood Baderin, professor, School of Law, University of London

Verena Beittinger-Lee, Ph.D., researcher, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, UK

Anthony Chase, associate professor, Diplomacy and World Affairs, Occidental College, US       

Ioana Cismas, Ph.D., international human rights lawyer, Switzerland   

Turan Kayaoglu, associate professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, US             

Ann Elizabeth Mayer, associate professor, Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department, University of Pennsylvania, US               

Mahmoud Monshipouri, associate professor, Department of International Relations, San Francisco State University, US               

Johannes Morsink, professor, Department of Political Science, Drew University, US

Marie Juul Petersen, Ph.D., researcher, Danish Institute for Human Rights, Denmark

Heini Skorini, Ph.D. student, King’s College, University of London, UK

*This article reflects the views of its two authors and not necessarily those of the other signatories to the recommendations.

*Turan Kayaoğlu is an associate professor at the University of Washington in Tacoma.

Source: Todays Zaman

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OIC Secretary General Opens the 3rd Regular Session of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on October 30, 2013


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | 27/10/2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu opened the Third Session of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) on 26 October 2013 in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

In the statement delivered on this occasion, Prof. Ihsanoglu highlighted that the establishment of IPHRC was a milestone achievement in the four decade long history of OIC and appreciated Member States’ overwhelming support in creation of this institution in half the time stipulated by the Ten Year Programme of Action. He further stressed that this advisory mechanism was needed not only for introspection and helping Member States in crafting, devising and implementing appropriate policies that are in line with fundamental human rights but also to dispel the growing misperception about the incompatibility between Islam and human rights. 

Prof. Ihsanoglu stressed that Islam called for full equality among human beings regardless of their race, religion, language, ethnic origin or social status, etc. and placed ‘hukook ul ibad’ or ‘rights of the people” on a very high pedestal. In that context, he underscored the important task of the Commission, which was to work in the context of bringing about the relevance of Islam in solving the problems and concerns of mankind in the present age. He urged Commission Members to prepare comprehensive research/studies on priority areas identified by the IPHRC and recommended to establish close working relationship with relevant international and regional organizations and mechanisms working in the field of human rights, in particular the United Nations. 

Representing the host country, H.E Ambassador Taib, Director General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Makkah Region, welcomed the Commission Members to Saudi Arabia and expressed best wishes for a successful and productive IPHRC Session. He further underscored the importance of this Commission and the hard work put in by the Commissioners in fulfilling their mandates. He also reiterated the strong support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the work of the IPHRC and also requested other OIC Member States to extend their full cooperation to this important organ of the OIC. 

At the start of the Session, Ms Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, the interim Chair of the IPHRC, handed over the Chair to the new Chairperson, Ambassador Mohammed Kawu Ibrahim, from Nigeria, who in his opening remarks to the meeting highlighted that being the first ever human rights expert body for the Muslim World operating in an intergovernmental framework, this Commission fills a historical gap. She expressed confidence that with the valuable support and cooperation of the Member States and other relevant stakeholders, the IPHRC would achieve its objective in restoring the true image of Islam as a religion that not only embraces human rights but has even preceded its elaboration, at the international level, centuries ago. 

In the next five days, the IPHRC is expected to discuss issues on its agenda; including the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in OIC Member States in particular the rights of women and of children; the right to development; human rights education; as well as the human rights aspects and situations in Occupied Palestinian Territories and that of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Source: OIC Secretariat 

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KSA backs OIC rights commission

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on October 28, 2013


JEDDAH: HABIB SHAIKH

Published — Monday 28 October 2013

Saudi Arabia strongly supports the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Human Rights Commission, said Mohammed Tayeb, director-general of Makkah province’s branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Addressing the third session of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) on Saturday in Jeddah, Tayeb underscored the importance of this commission and the hard work of the commissioners to fulfill their mandates.

 
Ambassador Mohammed Kawu Ibrahim of Nigeria, who took over from Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin as chairperson, stressed that this commission fills a historical gap, being the first-ever human rights expert body for the Muslim world operating in an intergovernmental framework. 

Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu explained that the establishment of the IPHRC was a milestone achievement in the four-decades long history of OIC. He added that this advisory mechanism was needed for introspection and helping member states in crafting, devising and implementing appropriate policies in line with fundamental human rights. It would also dispel the growing misperception about the incompatibility between Islam and human rights.

He said that addressing present day problems with Islamic values could be a framework for the commission. He added that Islam called for full equality among human beings regardless of their race, religion, language, ethnic origin or social status. 

The commission is to work on highlighting the relevance of Islam in solving modern day problems, said Ihsanoglu. He urged commission members to conduct studies on priority areas and recommended establishing a close working relationship with international and regional organizations in the field of human rights, in particular the United Nations. Ihsanoglu also called on the commissioners to review and update OIC instruments on human rights.

The IPHRC is expected to discuss issues such as civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights within OIC member states in the next five days. The rights of women and of children will be discussed, in addition to the right to development and human rights education, as well as the human rights situations in occupied Palestinian Territories and those of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Source: Arab News

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OIC urges UN chief to ‘do more’ to curb anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar

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


UNITED NATIONS, July 11 (APP): Representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have urged United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN member states to do more to persuade the Government of Myanmar to stem the tide of violence against Muslims in that South East Asian country. Authorities in the South-east Asian country had so far failed to end what amounted to genocide against Muslims, said Roble Olhaye, OIC Chairman and Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the United Nations. Expressing deep concern over the intolerable and unacceptable violence that had left some 130,000 Muslims displaced and living in pitiful conditions, he said it was the Myanmar Government’s responsibility to protect its people, no matter their background or religion.
Ambassador Abdallah Yahya Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of SaudiArabia, joined Ambassador Olhaye in stressing that the anti-Muslim violence was occurring at a time when Myanmar was enjoying improved diplomatic relations with the rest of the world, and its democratic progress was attracting significant attention.
Despite that progress, however, the Government cannot be allowed to turn a blind eye to egregious violations of human rights against one people, Olhaye emphasized.
He said he had just returned from a meeting with the Secretary-General andhis Special Adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, and had asked them to take a more forceful position in calling on the Myanmar Government to shoulder its responsibility for ending the violence.
Myanmar is having a honeymoon with the world, Al-Mouallimi said, adding,however, that the honeymoon was being built on the bodies of Muslim victims throughout the country. The world could not be swept up by democratic progress in Myanmar if it did not include full rights for Muslims.
The atrocities went beyond the persecuted Rohingya people to affect Muslimsthroughout the country, he said, adding that “we cannot accept that what is happening represents the great Buddhist people”.
It was incumbent upon the Government of Myanmar to protect Muslims and to ensure their right to work, to live safely and to perform their religious rites.
Echoing the call on the Secretary-General to make his voice heard more loudly on the issue, the Saudi ambassador emphasized:  “We have no intentions of standing on the side and watching this process take place without any action”.
He called upon powerful actors, including the United States, the European Union and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), to exercise their influence and ensure that ethnic cleansing in Myanmar was put to an immediate end.
Several waves of clashes between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, the first of which occurred in June 2012, have affected hundreds of thousands of families, mostly Muslims, in the country’s western region. Some 140,000 people, mostly Rohingya, remain displaced in Rakhine and tens of thousands of others have fled by boat.
Asked what more the United Nations system could do to prevent violence in Myanmar, Olhaye replied that the United Nations is part and parcel of the international community that is helping in the reform and democratization process in that country.
As the conscience of the world, the Organization must speak out more loudly in exerting pressure on the Government to stop the violence. There is a lot more that the Secretary-General and the United Nations can do, Al-Mouallimi added, calling, in particular, for efforts to engage personally with the President of Myanmar.
Asked what more the ‘Group of Friends on Myanmar’ could do to end the violence, he said there had so far been a failure to reach agreement on a Human Rights Council resolution condemning the atrocities against Myanmar’s Muslims.
Recalling that his country had joined the consensus in 2012, when the General Assembly had voted to recognize democratic developments in Myanmar, he said it had done so on the understanding that sufficient recognition would be given to the plight of Muslims there.
“We are still waiting,” he said. Indeed, it was not enough to insist on the basic structures of democracy; ending killings and persecution was a far more basic requirement of democracy.
When asked about the type of support that the OIC intended to provide to Muslims in Myanmar, Al-Mouallimi said it had offered to send a humanitarian team and to provide assistance to the victims, but those offers had been rejected by the Government. He called on the international community to ensure that such efforts were better received in the future.
Asked specifically about the Security Council’s inaction on the situation, Olhaye said the OIC’s next stop would be a meeting with Council members that would take place very soon. “We shall see, face-to-face, what will transpire out of those discussions”.
Source: APP

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OIC Secretary General traveling today to Geneva for meeting on combating religious intolerance

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on June 19, 2013


Date: 18/06/2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has left today, 18 June 2013 to Geneva, Switzerland to participate tomorrow, 19 June, in the third meeting of international experts on the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 on combating intolerance and incitement to hatred on religious grounds.
The OIC is hosting this three-day meeting, which is being held in the framework of the Istanbul Process launched by the OIC Secretary General and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July 2011.
The two expert events in the framework of the Istanbul Process were held earlier in Washington D.C., in December 2011 and in London in December 2012. The third meeting in Geneva will discuss concrete steps in implementing point 5, 6 and 8 of Resolution 16/18, namely, “Speaking out against intolerance, including advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence”; “Adopting measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief”; and “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”.

Source: http://www.oic-oci.org/topic_detail.asp?t_id=8187

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OIC Secretary General sends letter to President Obama on his re-election: Peace in the Middle East, socio-economic development and combating religious intolerance are priority for US-OIC collaboration

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on January 28, 2013


OIC Newsletter Issue Number 4

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, sent a letter to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, on the occasion of his re-election. In it, Ihsanoglu recalls the great strides of US-OIC collaboration on a range of issues during the past four years of Obama’s administration including health, humanitarian aid and women’s empowerment in the Muslim world and that he looks forward to furthering the cooperation in key areas of mutual interest and concern in the upcoming four years. He underlined that peace in the Middle East, socio-economic development and combating religious intolerance are priority areas for the OIC.

The letter was handed to President Obama’s Special Envoy to the OIC, Rashad Hussein, during the visit of Hussein to OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah today, 23 January 2013. The Secretary General stated in his letter to President Obama that his reelection is testimony to the trust placed in his dynamic leadership by the American people and could be viewed as a vote of confidence in his policies signifying ‘change’ with particular reference to the policy of engagement with the Muslim world. He pointed out that OIC, being essentially a political organization operating along the principles of moderation and modernization, aims at sustaining a policy of engagement and not confrontation.

Ihsanoglu stressed that the Palestinian issue remains at the heart of the most pressing concerns to the OIC and the international community, which requires firm commitment by the US, and that the status quo of political stalemate and continuation of Israeli occupation and settlement policies in the occupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem are neither acceptable nor viable. Ihsanoglu stated that upgrading the status of Palestine to non-member observer state at the UN General Assembly last November is a golden opportunity that should not be lost and urged Obama to accelerate the realization of peace and stability.

Ihsanoglu referred to Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in 2009, which he attended, calling it visionary and a positive statement with far reaching implications that raised expectations for a common future anchored in mutual respect and understanding. In this context, Ihsanoglu mentioned that OIC will continue to combat extremism, terrorism, intolerance and incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds. The consensual passage of UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 on combating religious intolerance, which codified the eight points identified in his address to the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council, has been widely acknowledged as a positive development and a triumph of multilateralism, Ihsanoglu added. It must also be seen as a poster child of OIC-US cooperation, he said, pointing out to the Istanbul Process that he initiated with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to build on the consensus achieved.

The Secretary General also highlighted the issue of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar in his letter. While he acknowledged Obama’s efforts to bring the issue of the Rohingya Muslim community to the attention of the national authorities during his recent visit to the country, he urged Obama to support protect the human rights of the Rohingya ethnic minority and to restore their citizenship.

Ihsanoglu calls for an international warning system against instances of religious intolerance
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), called for an effective international mechanism that could act as an early warning system against instances of discrimination and intolerance on religious grounds. He proposed an international Observatory, perhaps at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), with a broad mandate to monitor and document all instances of discrimination and intolerance on religious grounds.

The Secretary General was speaking at the high-level international meeting on 22 January 2013, in London, UK, upon the invitation of Baroness Saiyda Warsi, Senior Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to develop a common understanding on the way forward on the issue of intolerance on religious grounds.

The Secretary General pointed out that the OIC has an Observatory monitoring Islamophobia and the OSCE has a mechanism to monitor hate crimes, but what is needed is an international observatory with global coverage that would monitor intolerance and discrimination against all religions and their respective followers. He said that this would help develop an empirical basis to understand the extent of the problem, which in turn would figure into evolving an effective and concerted international response.

Ihsanoglu also called for building on the consensus that went into the UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 on combating intolerance on religious grounds and the Istanbul Process for implementing the resolution. He also pointed out that the recent meeting of eminent lawyers and human rights practitioners in Istanbul agreed that the provisions of existing legal instruments, including articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), suffice in covering OIC’s concerns, and that according equal weight to the concerns on both sides could form a good point of departure for developing a common understanding.

The London meeting comes after the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly last month, which adopted the resolution on combating religious intolerance for the second year in a row, and before the 22nd session of the HRC in February. The London meeting is the third in a series of meetings after Istanbul, the second was held in Washington DC. in December 2011. The Secretary General announced that the OIC will host the fourth meeting during the first half of this year.

Source:http://www.oic-oci.org/newsletter.asp

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OIC Secretary General sends letter to President Obama on his re-election: Peace in the Middle East, socio-economic development and combating religious intolerance are priority for US-OIC collaboration

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on January 28, 2013


23/01/2013 | The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, sent a letter to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, on the occasion of his re-election. In it, Ihsanoglu recalls the great strides of US-OIC collaboration on a range of issues during the past four years of Obama’s administration including health, humanitarian aid and women’s empowerment in the Muslim world and that he looks forward to furthering the cooperation in key areas of mutual interest and concern in the upcoming four years. He underlined that peace in the Middle East, socio-economic development and combating religious intolerance are priority areas for the OIC. 

The letter was handed to President Obama’s Special Envoy to the OIC, Rashad Hussein, during the visit of Hussein to OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah today, 23 January 2013. The Secretary General stated in his letter to President Obama that his reelection is testimony to the trust placed in his dynamic leadership by the American people and could be viewed as a vote of confidence in his policies signifying ‘change’ with particular reference to the policy of engagement with the Muslim world. He pointed out that OIC, being essentially a political organization operating along the principles of moderation and modernization, aims at sustaining a policy of engagement and not confrontation. 

Ihsanoglu stressed that the Palestinian issue remains at the heart of the most pressing concerns to the OIC and the international community, which requires firm commitment by the US, and that the status quo of political stalemate and continuation of Israeli occupation and settlement policies in the occupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem are neither acceptable nor viable. Ihsanoglu stated that upgrading the status of Palestine to non-member observer state at the UN General Assembly last November is a golden opportunity that should not be lost and urged Obama to accelerate the realization of peace and stability. 

Ihsanoglu referred to Obama’s speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in 2009, which he attended, calling it visionary and a positive statement with far reaching implications that raised expectations for a common future anchored in mutual respect and understanding. In this context, Ihsanoglu mentioned that OIC will continue to combat extremism, terrorism, intolerance and incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds. The consensual passage of UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 on combating religious intolerance, which codified the eight points identified in his address to the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council, has been widely acknowledged as a positive development and a triumph of multilateralism, Ihsanoglu added. It must also be seen as a poster child of OIC-US cooperation, he said, pointing out to the Istanbul Process that he initiated with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to build on the consensus achieved. 

The Secretary General also highlighted the issue of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar in his letter. While he acknowledged Obama’s efforts to bring the issue of the Rohingya Muslim community to the attention of the national authorities during his recent visit to the country, he urged Obama to support protect the human rights of the Rohingya ethnic minority and to restore their citizenship.

Source: http://www.oic-oci.org/topic_detail.asp?t_id=7658

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Ihsanoglu traveling to London for a high-level meeting on combating religious intolerance

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


22/01/2013 | Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, is traveling today, Monday, 21 January 2013, to London, UK for a high-level meeting to develop a common understanding and way forward for combating intolerance and discrimination on religious basis. The Secretary General was invited by Baroness Saiyda Warsi, Senior Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to join a core group of influential government ministers and policy makers. Representatives from several countries including the UK, USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey are expected to participate. 

The focus of the meeting will be on retaining and furthering international consensus reflected in the approach signified by Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 towards combating intolerance, discrimination and incitement to violence and violence based on religious grounds. Resolution 16/18 was an OIC initiative that was adopted by consensus at the 16th Session of the HRC in Geneva in 2011 based on the eight points presented by the Secretary General. Ihsanoglu also launched the Istanbul Process in July 2011 with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the participation of Lady Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to implement resolution 16/18. 

The London meeting comes after the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly last month, which adopted the resolution on combating religious intolerance for the second year in a row, and before the 22nd session of the HRC in February. The London meeting is the third in a series of meetings after Istanbul, the second was held in Washington DC. in December 2011. The OIC is expected to announce hosting the fourth meeting during the first half of this year.

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OIC Delegation Concludes Its Visit Of Observation In Myanmar

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on September 19, 2012


 

 

17/09/2012 | The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu dispatched a high level delegation led by Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, OIC Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, to Myanmar following the eruption of violence against the Muslim Rohinga community and taking into consideration their long-standing plight. In doing so, the Secretary General was guided by the directives of the 4th Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Makkah Al Mukarrama on 14-15 August, 2012.

The mandate of the mission that took place from 5-15 Sept 2012 was to:
a) To make preliminary observations as to the root causes of the problem and the effect of the violence that took place in the Rakhine State.
b) Explore the conditions and various aspects of a prospective visit by the OIC Secretary General.
c) To make the necessary contacts regarding the ways and means for the OIC to carry out humanitarian assistance and relief operations in the Rakhine State.

The delegation had extensive contacts with the Union and Rakhine State authorities regarding the ways and means for the OIC and Myanmar Government to create a long-term engagement and cooperation in order to encourage taking constructive steps towards rehabilitation and inter-communal reconciliation.

The OIC delegation was received in the capital city Nay Pyi Taw by the Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Borders Affairs and Interior and Social Affairs and in Sitwee met with the Union Minister of Borders Affairs once more in the presence of the Chief Minister of Rakhine State. The delegation had extensive discussions with regard to the concerns of OIC member states with a view to facilitate bringing sustainable and permanent solutions to the current issues in the context of democratization, reform and development process already underway in the country. Ensuring rule of law, inter- communal cohabitation and enjoyment of basic welfare and fundamental human rights by all groups and respect for cultural, ethnic and religious identities and values in the Rakhine State were highlighted by the OIC delegation as the basic expectations of OIC member states.

The OIC delegation signed on 11th September 2012 in Nay Pyi Taw, a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Ministry of Borders Affairs to implement a humanitarian program for the benefit of all communities living in the State of Rakhine. Within the framework of the MoC, the OIC will establish a coordination and monitoring presence in Yangon and Sitwee under the assistance of the Union and local authorities to conduct humanitarian activities.

The OIC delegation also briefed the Ambassadors of the OIC Member States and met with Mr. Vijay Nambiar, the Special Advisor of the UNSG for Myanmar as well as representatives of some international governmental and non-governmental agencies.

The proceedings outlined above will allow for productive cooperation between the Government of the Union of Myanmar and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for which we thank the Myanmar authorities. Yet the problem ought not to be dealt with solely from a humanitarian aspect.

Members of the OIC delegation left Yangon on 15th September 2012.

Source: OIC 

 

 

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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.

Source: www.oic-oci.org

 

 

 

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OIC sends letter to Myanmar President Sein

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


25 July 2012 | Secretary General of OIC asked Sein to provide security for the Rohingya Muslims

JEDDAH

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Wednesday sent a letter to the President of Myanmar, Thein Sein and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and asked for their assistance in ending violence against Rohingya Muslims.

In a statement released, the OIC said that Ihsanoglu’s letter to Sein was written so that pressure against the Muslims in Myanmar ended.
Ihsanoglu asked Sein to provide security for the Rohingya Muslims.

Ihsanoglu called on Sein to facilitate speedy investigation on the attacks on Rohingya Muslims and to try those responsible for the attacks in courts of law.

“The OIC is ready to provide any assistance to Myanmar in this regard,” Ihsanoglu stressed in his letter to President Sein.

In his letter to Ban Ki-moon, Ihsanoglu requested from Ban to use his office to be more influential on the government of Myanmar. “The OIC is ready to provide any assistance that may be needed by the United Nations,” Ihsanoglu underlined in his letter to Ban. 

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OIC condemns violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

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


 

14 July 2012 | 

The secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on the international community not to be indifferent to violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
 
JEDDAH

OIC officials said that Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu condemned violence that has been continued against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar for a while, sending letters to Myanmar president Thein Sein as well as opposition leader Suu Kyi.

Ihsanoglu said in his letter that democratic rights of Rohingya Muslims should be preserved and violence against them must be stopped.

Source: Anadolu Agency

 

 

 

 

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Human rights groups call for help for Myanmar Muslims

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


24 July 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN 

Human rights groups that gathered in Ankara on Tuesday to devise a common roadmap to raise public awareness about the state of Myanmar Muslims have strongly condemned the continuing killing and discrimination against Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar.

Inter-communal violence continues unabated in western Myanmar six weeks after the government declared a state of emergency there, and Muslim Rohingyas are increasingly being hit with targeted attacks that have included killings, rape and physical abuse, Amnesty International said.

Both security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists face accusations of carrying out attacks against Rohingyas, who are not welcomed and are seen as foreigners by the ethnic majority and denied citizenship by the government because it considers them illegal settlers from neighboring Bangladesh.

Led by the Civil Servants’ Trade Union (Memur-Sen), the Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-İş) and the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER), several human rights group representatives attended the meeting in Ankara to condemn the escalating atrocities against Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar.

Noting that the international community has recently started to pay attention to what is going on in Myanmar, Memur-Sen head Ahmet Gündoğdu said they should do whatever is necessary to help Myanmar Muslims. The union has donated TL 100,000 to the aid campaign, he said.

The problem has been a key issue that has dominated Myanmar politics for more than a century and has come under the international spotlight with the mass killings of Rohingyas, a Muslim minority of South Asian descent, in recent months.

After a series of isolated killings starting late in May that left victims on both sides, bloody skirmishes quickly spread across much of Myanmar’s coastal Rakhine state. The government declared a state of emergency on June 10, deploying troops to quell the unrest and protect both mosques and monasteries. Authorities said at least 78 people were killed and thousands of homes were burned down or destroyed — with the damage split evenly between Buddhists and Muslims.

In the meantime, the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has recently called on the international community not to be indifferent to violence against Myanmar Muslims. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu condemned the violence that is crushing the Rohingya Muslims and sent letters to Myanmar President Thein Sein as well as opposition leader Suu Kyi to take action regarding the case.

In a press statement, Gündoğdu stated that Muslim Rohingyas have been subjected to systematic massacre and rape by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and security forces.

“According to estimates from international agencies, thousands of Muslim Rohingyas lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of them have been forced to leave their land. After the state of emergency was declared where the events were taking play, security forces have detained hundreds of Rohingyas and reportedly tortured them. Reports of murders, burning of houses, rapes and displacement continue to come from the region,” he said.

Gündoğdu has urged the UN Security Council, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), OIC, the EU, the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Turkey to take bold steps to end the human tragedy happening there.

In line with Gündoğdu, MAZLUMDER head Ahmet Faruk Ünsal noted that there is an ongoing ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine region. He pointed out that Muslim Rohingyas are local people of the region, not foreigners.

Source: Today’s Zaman

 

 

 

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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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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, KOMPAS.com — 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.

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Vigilante groups ‘could battle’ Muslim radicals

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


The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 05/15/2012 8:00 AM

Muslim activists are warning that people might form vigilante groups if the government takes no action against the violent campaigns carried out by a number of hard-line organizations.

Wahid Institute pluralism activist Rumadi said members of the public were likely to take the law into their own hands because they believe the police have been protecting hard-line groups .

“It is possible because the police continue to side with the hard-line groups and people know they can’t rely on the police anymore for protection,” Rumadi said on Monday.

After harassing minority groups across the country, some radical groups recently turned their attention to attacking individuals and institutions that promote liberal ideas.

Last week, such groups disrupted book discussions featuring Irshad Manji, a Canadian liberal Muslim activist, both within and outside of the capital.

Muslim scholar Ulil Abshar Abdalla said that the violent actions taken by firebrand groups had raised the ire of some members of the community.

Ulil said that communities could set up a “neighborhood watch” to contain the movement of radical groups.

“It’s not an ideal solution to the problem, but it would probably do for now because we can’t expect much from the police,” he said.

Ulil, member of the Democratic Party’s central board, said that he once suggested that the government disband these hard-line groups.

But the government declined to do so because it lacked the legal grounds to take the action, Ulil said.

On May 4, members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) broke up Manji’s discussion at the Salihara Cultural Center in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta.

Five days later, the rector of Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University (UGM) cancelled Manji’s speech, organized by the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies, citing “security reasons”.

UGM said that it had been under pressure from a number of groups to cancel the talk.

The following day, members of the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) ransacked the office of the Institute for Islamic and Social Studies (LKiS) in Yogyakarta, where Manji was expected to participate in a discussion.

The mob vandalized the publisher’s office and tore pages out of Manji’s books, which had been displayed for sale.

Manji and her assistant suffered minor injuries in the attack.

Witnesses have said that no police officers were seen during the attack.

Between January 2011 and May 2012, as many as 20 attacks on minority groups were recorded in
Indonesia.

Ahmadiyah communities, Shiite groups and Christian congregations were among those targeted.

Irfan Abubakar, the director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, said the government could no longer promote Indonesia as a model for a pluralist society to the rest of the world.

“This has turned into an empty slogan used by the government in international diplomacy,” Irfan said.

His comments came as Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin from the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) said that Indonesia should protect the rights of minority groups.

The IPHRC oversees human rights issues for the Organization of Islamic Conference’s (OIC) member countries.

She said that member countries should protect minority groups with the same zeal that they have called for protection for Muslim minorities in other countries.

She also said that OIC has the authority over what was considered Islamic and non-Islamic.

“The OIC has never banned the Ahmadiyah and Shiite movements, and this should mean something to Indonesia,” Siti said. (tas)

Souce: www.thejakartapost.com

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