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

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


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

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

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

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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

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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 »

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

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OIC Secretary General strongly condemns attack on mosque in Pakistan

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on August 22, 2011


OIC Secretary General strongly condemns attack on mosque in Pakistan

21/08/2011

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has strongly condemned the horrendous terrorist attack against a mosque in North-Western Pakistan, on Friday 19th August 2011, in which more than 40 people were reportedly killed and dozens of other innocent worshippers in the mosque injured. The Secretary General expressed his shock and dismay at the horrific attack that targeted worshippers praying in a holy place during the sacred month of Ramadan.

Prof. Ihsanoglu has expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the people and the Government of Pakistan. He further stated that the perpetrators and supporters of these shocking crimes have definitely no place among Muslims.

While reiterating the OIC’s support to Pakistan in fighting extremism and terrorism, the Secretary General called on the Pakistani authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this terrorist act and bringing them to justice.

 

source:

http://www.oic-oci.org/topic_detail.asp?t_id=5584

 

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Shi’a cleric held in Saudi Arabia for ‘inciting public opinion’

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


Shi’a cleric held in Saudi Arabia for ‘inciting public opinion’

Amnesty International, 11 August 2011

The Saudi Arabian authorities must release or charge with an internationally recognizably offence a Shi’a cleric reportedly held for “inciting public opinion,” Amnesty International said today.

Sheikh Tawfiq Jaber Ibrahim al-‘Amr was arrested on 3 August, reportedly over statements he had made in sermons during Friday prayers although no formal charges are known to have been made.

The cleric was previously arrested in February following a sermon he gave calling for reforms in Saudi Arabia including a constitutional monarchy, fair distribution of jobs, and an end to discrimination against religious minorities.

“It would appear that this cleric has been arrested in connection to his continuing calls for reform,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“If so, he would be a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Sheikh Tawfiq Jaber Ibrahim al-‘Amr was arrested on 3 August while on his way home from a mosque in the city of al-Hafouf, al-Ahsa governorate.

He is said to have received a letter from the authorities days before he was arrested telling him to report to them.

The authorities did not tell his family where he was until five days later when they were allowed to visit him at a police station in the west of the city of Dammam.

The cleric was previously arrested and held incommunicado for a week earlier this year after a sermon he gave calling for reform in Saudi Arabia. He was released without charge.

Two years ago, Sheikh Tawfiq Jaber Ibrahim al-‘Amr was arrested and detained for 10 days apparently in connection with his practice of the Shi’a faith.

He was also arrested three years ago and detained for three days, apparently in connection with an art exhibition he organized for the religious festival of Ashura.

Critics of the Saudi Arabian government face gross human rights violations. They are often held incommunicado without charge, sometimes in solitary confinement, prevented from consulting lawyers and denied access to the courts to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.

Torture or other ill-treatment is frequently used to extract confessions from detainees, to punish them for refusing to “repent”, or to force them to make undertakings not to criticize the government.

The vast majority of Saudi Arabian citizens are Sunni Muslims and the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam is the official version followed by the state. The public practice of faiths other than Sunni Islam is not tolerated in Saudi Arabia. Even when practising their faiths in private, members of other faiths are at risk of persecution.

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OIC Secretary General holds bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State on Resolution 16/18

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 25, 2011


OIC Secretary General holds bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State on Resolution 16/18

16/07/2011

The OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a one-on-one, bilateral meeting on July 15, 2011 at the IRCICA Headquarters before the commencement of the Ministerial Meeting on UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18.

During the bilateral meeting, the two sides had a free and frank exchange of views on a variety of international issues. Mrs. Clinton expressed the firm commitment of the US government to further strengthen cooperation with OIC in addressing the issue of intolerance, discrimination and violence based on religion or belief and for the implementation of UN HRC 16/18.

 

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OIC ministerial meeting calls for combating intolerance

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 19, 2011


OIC ministerial meeting calls for combating intolerance

        Tuesday, July 19, 2011, Shaaban-al-Moazzam 16, 1432

Istanbul— The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hosted a ministerial meeting in Istanbul on July 15, 2011, which gave a united impetus to the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief”.
The meeting was co-chaired by the OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and US Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Foreign Ministers and officials of 28 countries from around the world and international organizations as well as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs were invited to participate.

A joint statement was issued by the Co-Chairs at the end of the meeting in which they called upon all relevant stakeholders throughout the world to take seriously the call for action set forth in resolution 16/18, which contributes to strengthening the foundations of tolerance and respect for religious diversity as well as enhancing the promotion and protections of human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world.

The participants, resolved to go beyond mere rhetoric. They reaffirm their commitment to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expressions by urging States to take effective measures, as set forth in Resolution 16/18, consistent with their obligations under international human rights law, to address and combat intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief.

The Co-Chairs of the meeting committed to working together with other interested countries and actors on follow up and implementation of Resolution 16/18 and to conduct further events and activities to discuss and assess implementation of the Resolution. Participants are encouraged to consider to provide updates, as part of ongoing reporting to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on steps taken at the international level on the implementation of Resolution 16/18, building also on related measures in the other resolutions adopted by consensus on freedom of religion or belief and on the elimination of religious intolerance and discrimination.

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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on Indonesia, including attacks on minorities

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 18, 2011


European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on Indonesia, including attacks on minorities

Thursday, 7 July 2011 – Strasbourg

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2010 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2009 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(1) ,

–  having regard to Indonesia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in May 2011; whereas UNHRC members are required to uphold the highest standards regarding the promotion and protection of human rights,

–  having regard to Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2011, the ASEAN Charter, which entered into force on 15 December 2008, and the creation of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights on 23 October 2009,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia ratified in 2006,

–  having regard to Chapter 29 of the Indonesian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion,

–  having regard to Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Indonesian Criminal Code prohibiting blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation,

–  having regard to Presidential Decree No 1/PNPS/1965 on the prevention of blasphemy and abuse of religions,

–  having regard to the EU statement of 8 February 2011 on the recent attacks on and killings of Ahmadis in Banten province,

–  having regard to the EU-Indonesia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the first round of the Human Rights Dialogue held in that framework, which took place in June 2010 in Jakarta,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Indonesia is the world’s largest predominantly Muslim nation, and whereas Indonesia’s tradition of pluralism, cultural harmony, religious freedom and social justice is enshrined in the national ideology of ‘Pancasila’,

B.  whereas there has been a significant increase in the incidence of attacks against religious minorities, particularly Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslims, but also against Christians, Buddhists and progressive civil society organisations,

C.  whereas, following the ban on the dissemination of Ahmadi Muslim teachings in 2008, the Indonesian Minister for Religious Affairs has repeatedly called for the imposition of a total ban on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a step which has already been taken by three provinces, West Java, South Sulawesi and West Sumatra; whereas on 6 February 2011 a mob of at least 1500 people attacked 20 Ahmadi Muslims in Cikeusik, in Banten province, killing three of them and severely injuring several others, prompting a condemnation and a call for an investigation by the President of Indonesia,

D.  whereas, following this attack, on 8 February 2011 hundreds of people set fire to three churches and attacked a priest in the Central Java city of Temanggung after a Christian charged with insulting Islam was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, instead of being condemned to death as expected by the attackers, and whereas the Communion of Churches in Indonesia has recorded 430 attacks against Christian churches over the past six years,

E.  whereas over 150 individuals have already been arrested or detained under Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Indonesian Criminal Code, and whereas there is evidence to show that local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws are being used by extremists to clamp down on religious freedom and to stir up intercommunity tensions and violence,

F.  whereas on 19 April 2010 the Indonesian Constitutional Court upheld the blasphemy and heresy laws and rejected the request for their repeal which had been submitted by four prominent Islamic scholars and at least seven Indonesian civil society and human rights organisations and supported by at least 40 other organisations,

G.  whereas there are credible reports, namely by the National Commission on Human Rights, of human rights violations by members of the security forces in Indonesia, including torture and other forms of ill-treatment and the unnecessary and excessive use of force, in particular on Papua and Maluku Islands; whereas those responsible are rarely brought to account before an independent court,

1.  Welcomes the joint statement issued on 24 May 2011 by the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the Regional Representatives’ Council, the Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly, the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court and other senior officials calling for ‘Pancasila’ to be upheld and for the protection of pluralism;

2.  Underlines the progress Indonesia has made in the area of the implementation of democracy and the rule of law in recent years, and attaches great importance to maintaining and deepening harmonious relations between the European Union and Indonesia in many areas, as reflected in the EU-Indonesia PCA;

3.  Applauds the pledges given by Indonesia ahead of its election to the UNHRC on 20 May 2011, including that of ratifying all major human rights instruments, in particular the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance;

4.  Express grave concern at the incidents of violence against religious minorities, particularly Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, Baha’ís and Buddhists; is concerned that violations of religious freedom undermine the human rights guaranteed in the Indonesian Constitution, including the prohibition of discrimination and freedom of expression, opinion and peaceful assembly;

5.  Calls on the Indonesian Government, namely the Minister of Religious Affairs, and the Indonesian judiciary to guarantee that the rule of law is implemented and upheld and that the perpetrators of religious violence and hatred are brought to justice;

6.  Express deep concern at the local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws, which are open to misuse, and at the 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree prohibiting the dissemination of Ahmadiyya Muslim teachings, and calls on the Indonesian authorities to repeal or revise them;

7.  Applauds the work of Indonesian civil society, including Muslim, Christian and secular think tanks, human rights organisations and counter-extremism organisations, in promoting pluralism, religious freedom, religious harmony and human rights;

8.  Urges the Indonesian Government to follow the recommendations made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and, in particular, to invite the UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion and belief to visit the country;

9.  Welcomes the investigation conducted into the deadly February 2011 attacks on the Ahmadiyya community in Western Java, which has led to the regional and provincial police chiefs being replaced, charges being brought against nine police officers for neglecting their duties and 14 other people being brought to trial for the crimes committed, and calls for independent monitoring of the trials of those charged in order to ensure that justice is done for all parties involved;

10.  Calls on the Indonesian authorities to investigate allegations of human rights violations by members of the security forces and to prosecute those found responsible, including persons with command responsibility;

11.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience who have been arrested and charged merely on the basis of their involvement in peaceful political protest, which is contrary to the spirit of the 2001 Special Autonomy Law that granted Papuans, Maluku and other ethnic and religious minorities the right to express their cultural identity;

12.  Calls on the EU delegation and Member States’ diplomatic missions to continue to closely monitor the human rights situation, in particularly in sensitive regions such as Papua, the Moluccas and Aceh;

13.  Emphasises the importance of including a human rights dimension, with a special focus on religious freedom and respect for minorities, in the political dialogue in the framework of the EU-Indonesia PCA;

14.  Call on the Member States and the Commission to support Indonesian civil society and human rights organisations which are actively promoting democracy, tolerance and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious groups;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Indonesia, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.

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Ministerial Meeting on Implementation of HRC Resolution 16/18 on Combating Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence Based on Religious or Belief

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 18, 2011


Ministerial Meeting on Implementation of HRC Resolution 16/18 on Combating Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence Based on Religious or Belief

15/07/2011

Joint Statement by the Co-Chairs
Istanbul, Turkey
July 15, 2011

The Secretary of State of the United States, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, together with foreign ministers and officials from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Sudan, United Kingdom, the Vatican (Holy See), UN OHCHR, Arab League, and African Union, met on July 15 in Istanbul to give a united impetus to the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.” The meeting was hosted by the OIC at the OIC/IRCICA premises at the historic Yildiz Palace in Istanbul and co-chaired by the OIC Secretary-General H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and U.S. Secretary of State H.E. Mrs. Hillary Clinton.

They called upon all relevant stakeholders throughout the world to take seriously the call for action set forth in resolution 16/18, which contributes to strengthening the foundations of tolerance and respect for religious diversity as well as enhancing the promotion and protections of human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world.

The participants, resolved to go beyond mere rhetoric, and to reaffirm their commitment to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expressions by urging States to take effective measures, as set forth in Resolution 16/18, consistent with their obligations under international human rights law, to address and combat intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief. The Co-Chairs of the meeting committed to working together with other interested countries and actors on follow up and implementation of Resolution 16/18 and to conduct further events and activities to discuss and assess implementation of the Resolution. Participants are encouraged to consider to provide updates, as part of ongoing reporting to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on steps taken at the international level on the implementation of Resolution 16/18, building also on related measures in the other resolutions adopted by consensus on freedom of religion or belief and on the elimination of religious intolerance and discrimination.

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Study on the prohibition of incitement to national, racial or religious hatred: Lessons from the Asia Pacific Region

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 14, 2011


Study on the prohibition of incitement to national, racial or religious hatred:
Lessons from the Asia Pacific Region
By Vitit Muntarbhorn
(Professor of Law at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. He has helped the UN in a variety
of capacities, including as an expert, consultant and Special Rapporteur)

Table of contents
A. Introduction
B. State of the Law:
i) Constitution
ii) Criminal Law/Code
iii) Civil Law/Code
iv) Specific Laws on Hate Speech
v) Other Laws
C. State of Policy
D. State of Practice

Full text paper click here

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Human Rights Council Resolution on Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on July 14, 2011


Human Rights Council Resolution on Combating intolerance, 
negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, 
incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief

Human Rights Council
Sixteenth session
Agenda item 9
A/HRC/16/L.38
21 March 2011

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