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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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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

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

Statement by His Excellency the Secretary General at the 3rd Istanbul Process Meeting on the follow-up of Implementation of HRC Resolution 16/18

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on June 21, 2013


Date: 20/06/2013

Geneva, Switzerland
(19 – 21 June 2013)

Excellencies,
Distinguished Panelists,
Dear guests and colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this 3rd Istanbul Process Meeting on the follow-up and Implementation of Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 on Combating Incitement to violence, and Intolerance based on religion or belief.

I am grateful to all participants for their attendance, and particularly the distinguished panelists for sharing their valuable time and expertise. I would also like to thank all the esteemed State representatives and high officials from the UN and other international organizations for their participation. Let me also convey profound gratitude towards the esteemed Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, for her keen interest and gracious presence amongst us.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Combating discrimination and intolerance forms a most daunting challenge of our times. It constitutes a matter of vital concern at the OIC. Over the past decade, the debate over religious intolerance and its relationship with freedom of expression received greater attention in both the media and political discourse. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the exposure and recognition accorded to the core issue, divergences in approach prevented the enactment of effective and concrete remedial measures at the international level. It was in this context that, highly committed to the matter and determined to reach common ground, the OIC came up with an alternative approach reflected in the Resolution 16/18 on “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination Incitement to Violence, and Violence Against Persons Based on Religion and Belief”.

The consensual passage of HRC resolution 16/18 in March 2011 has been widely acknowledged as a positive development. It demonstrated OIC’s ability to forge consensus on the 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 in September 2010. 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.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We did not stop at mere passage of a resolution. The Istanbul Process initiated with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton to build further on the consensus building that went into resolution 16/18 must be carried forward. While the resolution forms a triumph of multilateralism, Istanbul Process must also be seen as a poster child of OIC-US-EU cooperation. Our meeting today is a part of this Process. I appreciate that this Process 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.

To date, two expert meetings have already been held in the framework of the Istanbul Process in Washington D.C., in December 2011 and the Wilton Park event in London in December 2012. Each of these two experts meetings focused on specific action points contained in Resolution 16/18 with a view to assessing and promoting their implementation. Furthermore, both expert meetings offered significant contributions by first of all maintaining a live debate of ideas and keeping open channels of communications but also by compiling comprehensive reports, containing a set of recommendations and best practices from which all concerned parties can take stalk.

Excellencies,

Distinguished panelists and participants,
This third meeting of “Istanbul Process”, being held before the Geneva based diplomatic community, is of no lesser significance. It has brought the Istanbul Process to where it essentially belongs – the home ground of governing resolution. With the Geneva based experts from Member States and the distinguished panelists and participants in our midst, this meeting is perfectly poised – over the next three days-to address three important points that lie at the heart of the resolution 16/18. This is an opportunity for frank and candid debate particularly on the grey areas characterized by divergence of views. The significance and utility of the Istanbul Process lies in affording a forum for structured and open debate. Such debate must not, however, be sterile. It must generate ideas that can continue to feed the process of building on the consensus.

Let me briefly comment on each of the three substantive sessions.

In the first Session later this afternoon, distinguished panelists would lend the benefit of their perspectives and expert opinion on the importance and urgency of speaking out against intolerance, including advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. International community’s commitment to condemn intolerance and incitement to hatred on religious grounds is surely the most basic and simple step to be taken in implementation of HRC Resolution 16/18. It is essential for such condemnation to be strong, categorical and unified encompassing all aspects of the issue. The key message that must be consistently repeated, and which our meeting should echo loud and clear, is simple. In a world of increasing interconnectivity and multiculturalism, fast flow of information and human migration, Intolerance and incitement are not admissible. They continue to pose a clear and present danger to peace, security and stability at the national, regional and global levels.

The approach signified by resolution 16/18 has indeed been helpful to that end. The Joint Statement issued by the OIC, Arab League, the African Union and the European Union in September 2012 – in response to the reprehensible release of the highly provocative film “innocence of Muslims” on the Internet – forms a case in point. The joint statement condemned a clear act of advocacy to religious hatred that constituted incitement to hostility and violence. It also emphasized the need to respect believers’ legitimate and objective sensitivities with regard to the sanctity of religious figures and symbols, and that, irrespectively of their religious background. It is, of course, regrettable that acts of provocation often lead to violent reactions, which must not be condoned. The international community stands to gain from a unified and even handed approach in this regard.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Second Session of the Meeting touches upon a most important element of Resolution 16/18. It is most significantly characterized by divergence of views on the adoption of measures to criminalize incitement to violence based on religion or belief. It needs to be appreciated that while there is clarity, at least in terms of the existing international law, on how to address advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. Progress with regard to concerted international action to that end, however, has been marred by extensive politicization and polarization of the issue.

Let me clearly state that this is a matter of vital concern for OIC. The alternative approach signified by the resolution 16/18 was intended to move beyond the politicization and polarization with regard to content or title of the erstwhile resolution in addressing the real issues on a consensual basis. The increasing trend of Islamophobia is indeed ominous in a globalized world. There has been an alarming increase in intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. It must be appreciated that there is mounting public pressure on OIC Member States to take concrete action. Alarming increase in Islamophobic incidents like the Utoya massacre in Norway, the burning of copies of Quran by the Florida Pastor and release the reprehensible trailer on You tube continue to hurt the religious sentiments of over 1.5 billion Muslims. The political leadership of OIC Member States has been calling for immediate remedial action. It was in this situation that OIC as a responsible International Organization constituted a panel of eminent lawyers and human rights practitioners to examine the issue from the international law perspective. The panel 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 legal 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. Concerns of all parties must be understood and addressed in evolving a consensual solution. I believe according equal weight to the concerns on both sides could form a good point of departure. The Istanbul Process carries the necessary resilience in this regard. I am confident deliberations at this meeting will make an important contribution.

Distinguished colleagues,

The Third substantive Session at this important meeting would focus on the need to recognize 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. This is a very important aspect of the larger discourse that requires careful consideration. I would like to emphasize here, at the outset, that religions are part of international heritage and have all along accommodated critical thinking as an important pillar of human evolution and progress. For instance in Islam, the concept ‘Ijtihad’ forms a dynamic tool of jurisprudence that accommodates dissent and critical thinking. It is duly reflected in the admissibility of the different interpretations. Such dynamism, I believe, is a precondition to the progressive development of all legal systems.

Let us now focus on the word respectful. An open and constructive debate of ideas is indeed useful. It must be upheld as a matter of freedom of opinion and expression. It, however, transforms into a case of incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence when the freedom is abused to denigrate symbols and personalities sacred to one or the other religion. It needs to be understood as a matter of identity. It needs to be acknowledged that people in some parts of the world tend to identify themselves more with a particular religion than elsewhere. It is, therefore, essential to draw a line between free speech and hate speech – Hence the importance of interfaith and intercultural dialogue. OIC was the first to call for such a dialogue in 1998. We have seen that the dialogue has continued for a considerable time without much to show for result. What we need is a movement beyond event based calls towards a serious, structured and result oriented dialogue. Similarly, we could benefit from an integrated approach with regard to international efforts geared towards combating intolerance, discrimination and incitement to hatred. The Istanbul Process, I believe can serve as an avenue for such an integrated approach drawing on and lending a concrete shape to the understandings reached elsewhere.

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,

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. Events like this meeting are increasingly important. Our deliberations here must aim at squarely addressing interrelated issues with particular reference to the grey areas. We need to evolve approaches that can remove the gaps in interpretation, implementation or information on a consensual basis. I personally believe and propose that we may look into the prospect of developing soft law that could reflect the common understanding of international community on this important issue. It could be in the form of some principles, guidelines or a declaration. I would like to leave it for the collective wisdom and common understanding of the experts to enlighten us to that end. The Istanbul Process based on the shared objectives reflected in the consensual approach signified by the resolution 16/18 lends me with reason for optimism in this regard.

I thank you all and wish you success in the important deliberations over the next three days.

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Panel of legal experts prepares the groundwork for a political OIC strategy on religious intolerance against Muslims

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


OIC Newsletter Issue Number 2 | 10/01/2013

A panel of legal and human rights experts prepared the groundwork for the political strategy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to tackle religious intolerance against Muslims and the growing incidents of Islam bashing. The two-day meeting held in Istanbul of the Panel of Eminent Persons on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims expanded on a working paper drafted by the OIC General Secretariat for a politically tenable strategy that is anchored firmly in international law.

With the increasing trend of Islamophobia, such as the reprehensible episodes of burning of copies of the Holy Qur’an by a Pastor, the Utoya massacre in Norway, and most recently the release of the trailer of ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ on YouTube, in addition to indications of institutionalization and constitutionalization of Islamophobia, there is mounting public pressure on OIC Member States to draw a line and take concrete action, according to OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

“The OIC strategy must be proportionate to expectations of the Muslim World – being their political voice. It must be substantive and credible to shift the initiative away from the street to the table of meaningful and result oriented multilateral discourse,” said Ihsanoglu in his opening remarks to the meeting on January 7, 2013. “We must emphasize that there is no hierarchy of human rights whereby a single right can trump others. OIC believes that the relevant provisions of international law on freedom of opinion and expression support our position. If so, it must clearly be brought out with cogent legal arguments. Or we should look for other legally tenable options to engage the negotiating partners in a result-oriented fashion,” he added.

As mandated by the 39th Council of Foreign Ministers held in Djibouti last November, the significance of the Panel lies in furnishing a set of available options, in terms of legal merits and demerits, on combating discrimination and intolerance against Muslims. A legal opinion is formed based on purely technical analysis. The output of the Panel’s work will be presented to the OIC leadership at the forthcoming 12th OIC Summit in Cairo on 2-7 February 2013, which is expected to take a political decision on an OIC approach to dealing with this issue.

The deliberations of the Panel will also be useful during the high-level meeting at Wilton Park in the UK on 22 January 2013, which is part of the Istanbul Process launched by the Secretary General to implement UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 on combating religious intolerance. In that context, the Panel addressed the issue of criminalization of incitement to imminent violence and accorded it a special focus. Furthermore, the work of the Panel could contribute significantly towards the ongoing international discourse on combating intolerance and discrimination on religious grounds.

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

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Ihsanoglu stresses on measures for implementing resolutions against stigmatizing religions

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on October 2, 2012


Ihsanoglu stresses on measures for implementing resolutions against stigmatizing religions Recent incidents demonstrate consequences of abusing freedom of expression and right to protest

New York, 28/09/2012 |  The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said that achievements made in regards to religious tolerance are being challenged by a very small group of misguided people on both sides. In his speech to the OIC Annual Coordination Meeting of the Foreign Ministers, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu stressed on the need to develop measures to ensure the implementation of the resolutions on combating religious intolerance by national authorities, particularly in the areas of media and education.

The Secretary General pointed out to the operative paragraph in Resolution 16/18 adopted unanimously by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 stipulates that, “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.”

“What is urgently needed now is the mobilization of the collective resources of all member states, equipped with a well-considered comprehensive strategy, capable of defeating this hate campaign,” said Ihsanoglu to the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, 28 September 2012.

While strongly condemning the tragic killing of the American officials in Benghazi and the attacks on the US diplomatic missions in Cairo, Ihsanoglu said that expressing anger or outrage should be no means get to killing people or destroying property.

“These incidents demonstrate the serious consequences of abusing the principle of freedom of expression at one side and the abuse of right to demonstration on the other side. These recent incidents brought again to the fore the dire need for respecting religions and their symbols.”
The Secretary General proposed addressing the root causes of this problem, which is “ignorance”.
In order to stop and break the vicious circle of hate mongering actions and violent uncalled for reactions, “we must relate our initiatives to the mass,” stressed Ihsanoglu.

He said that only two ways to address this ‘ignorance’ effectively, media and education. By reaching out to the mass through firstly encouraging the mass media to vigorously and diligently disseminate the true image of religion and beliefs focusing on their basic tenets of peace and tolerance and not on actions taken by some misguided people in the name of those religions or faiths. Secondly, efforts should be exerted to develop an education system for the next generation promoting better understanding of civilizations and common human values.

Source: OIC Secretariat

 

 

 

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THE CAIRO DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN ISLAM

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


The Nineteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (Session of Peace, Interdependence and Development), held in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, from 9-14 Muharram 1411H (31 July to 5 August 1990),

Keenly aware of the place of mankind in Islam as vicegerent of Allah on Earth;

Recognizing the importance of issuing a Document on Human Rights in Islam that will serve as a guide for Member States in all aspects of life;

Having examined the stages through which the preparation of this draft Document has, so far, passed and the relevant report of the Secretary General;

Having examined the Report of the Meeting of the Committee of Legal Experts held in Tehran from 26 to 28 December, 1989;

1- Agrees to issue the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam which will serve as a general guidance for Member States in the field of human rights.

ANNEX TO RES. NO. 49/19-P

THE CAIRO DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN ISLAM

The Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference,

Reaffirming the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic Ummah which God made the best nation that has given mankind a universal and well-balanced civilization in which harmony is established between this life and the hereafter and knowledge is combined with faith; and the role that this Ummah should play to guide a humanity confused by competing trends and ideologies and to provide solutions to the chronic problems of this materialistic civilization.

Wishing to contribute to the efforts of mankind to assert human rights, to protect man from exploitation and persecution, and to affirm his freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah

Convinced that mankind which has reached an advanced stage in materialistic science is still, and shall remain, in dire need of faith to support its civilization and of a self motivating force to guard its rights;

Believing that fundamental rights and universal freedoms in Islam are an integral part of the Islamic religion and that no one as a matter of principle has the right to suspend them in whole or in part or violate or ignore them in as much as they are binding divine commandments, which are contained in the Revealed Books of God and were sent through the last of His Prophets to complete the preceding divine messages thereby making their observance an act of worship and their neglect or violation an abominable sin, and accordingly every person is individually responsible – and the Ummah collectively responsible – for their safeguard.

Proceeding from the above-mentioned principles,

Declare the following:

ARTICLE I:
(a) All human beings form one family whose members are united by submission to God and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the grounds of race, color, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. True faith is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human perfection.

(b)All human beings are God’s subjects, and the most loved by Him are those who are most useful to the rest of His subjects, and no one has superiority over another except on the basis of piety and good deeds.

ARTICLE 2:
(a) Life is a God-given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every human being. It is the duty of individuals, societies and states to protect this right from any violation, and it is prohibited to take away life except for a Shari’ah prescribed reason.

(b) It is forbidden to resort to such means as may result in the genocidal annihilation of mankind.

(c) The preservation of human life throughout the term of time willed by God is a duty prescribed by Shari’ah

(d) Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a Sharia-prescribed reason.

ARTICLE 3:
(a) In the event of the use of force and in case of armed conflict, it is not permissible to kill non-belligerents such as old man, women and children. The wounded and the sick shall have the right to medical treatment; and prisoners of war shall have the right to be fed, sheltered and clothed. It is prohibited to mutilate dead bodies. It is a duty to exchange prisoners of war and to arrange visits or reunions of the families separated by the circumstances of war.

(b) It is prohibited to fell trees, to damage crops or livestock, and to destroy the enemy’s civilian buildings and installations by shelling, blasting or any other means.

ARTICLE 4:
Every human being is entitled to inviolability and the protection of his good name and honor during his life and after his death. The state and society shall protect his remains and burial place.

ARTICLE 5:
(a) The family is the foundation of society, and marriage is the basis of its formation. Men and women have the right to marriage, and no restrictions stemming from race, color or nationality shall prevent them from enjoying this right.

(b) Society and the State shall remove all obstacles to marriage and shall facilitate marital procedure. They shall ensure family protection and welfare.

ARTICLE 6:
(a) Woman is equal to man in human dignity, and has rights to enjoy as well as duties to perform; she has her own civil entity and financial independence, and the right to retain her name and lineage.

(b) The husband is responsible for the support and welfare of the family.

ARTICLE 7:
(a) As of the moment of birth, every child has rights due from the parents, society and the state to be accorded proper nursing, education and material, hygienic and moral care. Both the fetus and the mother must be protected and accorded special care.

(b) Parents and those in such like capacity have the right to choose the type of education they desire for their children, provided they take into consideration the interest and future of the children in accordance with ethical values and the principles of the Shari’ah

(c) Both parents are entitled to certain rights from their children, and relatives are entitled to rights from their kin, in accordance with the tenets of the Shari’ah.

ARTICLE 8:

Every human being has the right to enjoy his legal capacity in terms of both obligation and commitment, should this capacity be lost or impaired, he shall be represented by his guardian.

ARTICLE 9:
(a) The question for knowledge is an obligation and the provision of education is a duty for society and the State. The State shall ensure the availability of ways and means to acquire education and shall guarantee educational diversity in the interest of society so as to enable man to be acquainted with the religion of Islam and the facts of the Universe for the benefit of mankind.

(b) Every human being has the right to receive both religious and worldly education from the various institutions of, education and guidance, including the family, the school, the university, the media, etc., and in such an integrated and balanced manner as to develop his personality, strengthen his faith in God and promote his respect for and defense of both rights and obligations.

ARTICLE 10:
Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion or to atheism.

ARTICLE 11:
(a) Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation but to God the Most-High.

(b) Colonialism of all types being one of the most evil forms of enslavement is totally prohibited. Peoples suffering from colonialism have the full right to freedom and self-determination. It is the duty of all States and peoples to support the struggle of colonized peoples for the liquidation of all forms of colonialism and occupation, and all States and peoples have the right to preserve their independent identity and exercise control over their wealth and natural resources.

ARTICLE 12:
Every man shall have the right, within the framework of Shari’ah, to free movement and to select his place of residence whether inside or outside his country and if persecuted, is entitled to seek asylum in another country. The country of refuge shall ensure his protection until he reaches safety, unless asylum is motivated by an act which Shari’ah regards as a crime.

ARTICLE 13:
Work is a right guaranteed by the State and Society for each person able to work. Everyone shall be free to choose the work that suits him best and which serves his interests and those of society. The employee shall have the right to safety and security as well as to all other social guarantees. He may neither be assigned work beyond his capacity nor be subjected to compulsion or exploited or harmed in any way. He shall be entitled – without any discrimination between males and females – to fair wages for his work without delay, as well as to the holidays allowances and promotions which he deserves. For his part, he shall be required to be dedicated and meticulous in his work. Should workers and employers disagree on any matter, the State shall intervene to settle the dispute and have the grievances redressed, the rights confirmed and justice enforced without bias.

ARTICLE 14:
Everyone shall have the right to legitimate gains without monopolization, deceit or harm to oneself or to others. Usury (riba) is absolutely prohibited.

ARTICLE 15
(a) Everyone shall have the right to own property acquired in a legitimate way, and shall be entitled to the rights of ownership, without prejudice to oneself, others or to society in general. Expropriation is not permissible except for the requirements of public interest and upon payment of immediate and fair compensation.

(b) Confiscation and seizure of property is prohibited except for a necessity dictated by law.

ARTICLE 16:
Everyone shall have the right to enjoy the fruits of his scientific, literary, artistic or technical production and the right to protect the moral and material interests stemming therefrom, provided that such production is not contrary to the principles of Shari’ah.

ARTICLE 17:
(a) Everyone shall have the right to live in a clean environment, away from vice and moral corruption, an environment that would foster his self-development and it is incumbent upon the State and society in general to afford that right.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to medical and social care, and to all public amenities provided by society and the State within the limits of their available resources.

(c) The State shall ensure the right of the individual to a decent living which will enable him to meet all is requirements and those of his dependents, including food, clothing, housing, education , medical care and all other basic needs.

ARTICLE 18:
(a) Everyone shall have the right to live in security for himself, his religion, his dependents, his honor and his property.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to privacy in the conduct of his private affairs, in his home, among his family, with regard to his property and his relationships. It is not permitted to spy on him, to place him under surveillance or to besmirch his good name. The State shall protect him from arbitrary interference.

(c) A private residence is inviolable in all cases. It will not be entered without permission from its inhabitants or in any unlawful manner, nor shall it be demolished or confiscated and its dwellers evicted.

ARTICLE 19:
(a) All individuals are equal before the law, without distinction between the ruler and the ruled.

(b) The right to resort to justice is guaranteed to everyone.

(c) Liability is in essence personal.

(d) There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Shari’ah

(e) A defendant is innocent until his guilt is proven in a fair trial in which he shall be given all the guarantees of defence.

ARTICLE 20:
It is not permitted without legitimate reason to arrest an individual, or restrict his freedom, to exile or to punish him. It is not permitted to subject him to physical or psychological torture or to any form of humiliation, cruelty or indignity. Nor is it permitted to subject an individual to medical or scientific experimentation without his consent or at the risk of his health or of his life. Nor is it permitted to promulgate emergency laws that would provide executive authority for such actions.

ARTICLE 21:
Taking hostages under any form or for any purpose is expressly forbidden.

ARTICLE 22:
(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah

(c) Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.

(d) It is not permitted to arouse nationalistic or doctrinal hatred or to do anything that may be an incitement to any form or racial discrimination.

ARTICLE 23:
(a) Authority is a trust; and abuse or malicious exploitation thereof is absolutely prohibited, so that fundamental human rights may be guaranteed.

(b) Everyone shall have the right to participate, directly or indirectly in the administration of his country’s public affairs. He shall also have the right to assume public office in accordance with the provisions of Shari’ah.

ARTICLE 24:
All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah.

ARTICLE 25:
The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.

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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.

Posted in Freedom of Religion, Human Rights and Islam, News about OIC Human Rights | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

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

Excellencies,
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.

Excellencies,
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.

Excellencies,
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.

 

 

 

Posted in Human Rights and Islam, Other Rights, Syiria | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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 registry@ohchr.org.


Source: Bangkok ONHRC

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

OIC INTERNATIONAL MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON REFUGEES IN THE MUSLIM WORLD

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


INTERNATIONAL MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON REFUGEES IN THE MUSLIM WORLD

ASHGABAT, TURKMENISTAN
11-12 MAY 2012

Documents

Posted in OIC Instruments, Other Rights | 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 »

OIC Secretary General denounces military coup in Guinea-Bissau

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on April 16, 2012


Date: 14/04/2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, firmly denounced the coup d’état conducted on Saturday 13 April 2012 by army rebels in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, an OIC Member State.

The Secretary General condemned the coup as an outrageous and inadmissible act which will only thwart the stabilization efforts and democratic process unraveling in the country over the last few months. He noted with profound regret that this unconstitutional coup is launched a few weeks prior to the run-off presidential election.

Prof. Ihsanoglu called on the military in Guinea-Bissau to exercise responsible restraint, refrain from violence, and release all detained officials as a prelude to restore the constitutional order, peace and stability in the country.

Source: OIC

Posted in International Human Rights, OIC Human Rights News, Other Rights, Regional Mechanism of Human Rights | 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 »

Indonesia wants to be Host of OIC Human Rights Commission

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


Thursday, 23 February, 2012

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

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

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

SITA PLANASARI AQUADINI

Source: www.tempo.co

Posted in CSO Participation, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), Indonesia, OIC Human Rights News | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/02/21/ngos-ask-oic-s-new-human-rights-body-engage-civil-society.html

Posted in CSO Participation, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), Indonesia, OIC Human Rights News | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

OIC body told to engage civil groups

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/02/22/oic-body-told-engage-civil-groups.html

 

Posted in CSO Participation, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), Indonesia, OIC Human Rights News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Informal Luncheon Talks: Indonesian Civil Society, IPHRC Commissioners, and Diplomat Community

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


Promoting and Strengthening of human rights in the Muslim World: First Meeting of OIC Human Rights Body (IPHRC)

Jakarta, 21 February 2012

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Posted in CSO Participation, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), Indonesia | 1 Comment »

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 »

Indonesian Civil Society Participation to the OIC Human Rights Commission (IPHRC)

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


Indonesian Civil Society Participation to the OIC Human Rights Commission (IPHRC). Jakarta, Indonesia, 19 February 2012.

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