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Press Release of OIC IPHRC on International Women’s Day 2014

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


IPHRC Secretariat, 08/03/2014

The Independent Permanent Human Right Commission (IPHRC) of the OIC, on the occasion of the Intentional Women’s Day (IWD), joins women advocates of rights of women and girls all over the world in celebrating the achievements of women in all facets of life; while fully cognizant of the fact that immense work still lies ahead in the effort to improve the socio-economic condition of women around the globe. 

These challenges range from violence to various forms of discrimination. Women continue to be discriminated in areas such as access to education, employment, resources as well as participation in political and policy decision making processes at national and international levels. Being one of the vulnerable groups, women under conflict/foreign occupation; with disability and those who live in extreme poverty also face multiple forms of discrimination. 

While equal access to education and employment and participation in decision making processes is fundamental to ensuring women empowerment and gender equality, the process must begun with addressing de-facto and de-jure discrimination in policy and practice at all levels including through training of concerned officials, and awareness raising of general public. Women must be able to shape the future of their countries by being involved in all reform processes from the beginning. Their full participation is essential not only for their empowerment, but for the advancement of society as a whole. 

IPHRC recalls that Islam forbids discrimination on any grounds including race, religion or sex. In recognition of the rights granted to women by Islam, OIC Member States adopted the OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women (OPAAW) that calls upon Member States to take specific actions to ensure their effective participation in the economic, social, political and cultural aspects of the society. 

IPHRC has set women’s rights as one of its top priority issues since its first session in Jakarta in 2011. The Commission has also established a special Working Group on women and child rights to undertake studies and research on the situation of women in the OIC Member States and to provide technical cooperation and awareness-raising toward the enhancement and the betterment of their lives. The Working Group is currently carrying out a study on legislation and policies pertaining to rights of women in Member States with a view to presenting best practices on eliminating discrimination and violence against women and girls, which hamper full enjoyment of their human rights. 

On this important day, IPHRC calls upon all Member States to ratify the statute of OIC Women Development Organization (WDO), on priority. This will enable the WDO to start its valuable work i.e. helping Member States in effective implementation of the OPAAW.

The Commission supports all women who are contributing and working for positive changes in their families, communities and societies. IPHRC also looks forward to working and collaborating with other international, regional and national institutions to promote the laudable goal of women empowerment and gender equality.

Source: OIC Secretariat

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The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission Closes its 3rd Regular Session in Jeddah Decides to visit Palestine and Myanmar to assess human rights situation

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on November 1, 2013


Date: 31/10/2013 

The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) concluded its Third Session in Jeddah today, Thursday, 31 October 2013. The 5-day Session was presided over by its new chairperson, Ambassador Mohammad Kawu Ibrahim from Nigeria. 
The Commission had in-depth discussions on some of the very important contemporary issues such as Islamophobia and discrimination based on religion, human rights violations of Palestinian people and situation of Rohingyas Muslim minority in Myanmar. In this regard, the Commission strongly condemned the continuing human rights violations perpetrated by the occupying power Israel in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. The Commission Members strongly condemned the policy of settlements in terms of its implications towards the whole range of human rights of the Palestinian people as well as stifling international efforts towards durable peace in the Middle East. The Commission decided to undertake a visit to Palestine (Gaza Strip and the West Bank) to ascertain the human rights situation on the ground with a view to making appropriate recommendations to the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM). 

On the other hand, the Commission welcomed the recommendations made by the OIC Contact Group on Myanmar and hoped that the first visit by the Group in mid November will contribute to the realization of the rights of the Rohingya. The Commission decided to send their own fact-finding mission to Myanmar to assess the situation of Rohingya Muslims. It also considered organizing a seminar/workshop on interfaith dialogue regrouping Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders. 

The Commission also deliberated on various aspects of the four priority areas identified in its first session, i.e., Human Rights of Women, Rights of the Child, Human Rights Education and the Right to Development. In order to pursue these issues in a more organized and focused manner, the Commission established four working groups namely the Working Group on Palestine; Working Group on the Human Rights of Women and of the Child; Working Group on Islamophobia and Muslims Minorities and Working Group on the Right to Development. While Human Rights Education, being a cross cutting issue, will be pursued by all Working Groups, an ad hoc Working Group on contact and relationship with national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and civil society was also established. 

The Commission briefed the OIC Member States on its interaction with other international and regional organizations and organs working in the field of human rights, particularly women rights. 

As mandated by the Summit and Council of Foreign Ministers, the Commission also finalized and presented three reports on the subjects of Discrimination and intolerance against Muslims, the human rights situation of Rohingya Muslims and the negative impacts of economic and financial sanctions on the full enjoyment of human rights. 

The Commission reiterated its request to Member States to provide information on their legislation on the rights of women and children with a view to studying their compatibility with relevant Islamic teachings and international human rights obligations and to come up with a compendium of best practices and model legislation on these subjects. The Commission also called for close collaboration with organizations and institutions in the field of interfaith and inter-civilizational dialogue, including the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICID) and the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue. 

The 18 member Commission is expected to formally meet for the Fourth Session by early February in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Source: OIC Sec

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

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


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | 27/10/2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OIC Secretariat 

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Opening Statement by H.E the Secretary General of the OIC at the Third Regular Session of the OIC IPHRC

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


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | 26/10/2013 

Distinguished Members of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, 
Distinguished Heads of Missions, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Let me take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to all of you to the Third Regular Session of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission. 

The Session is starting with the pleasant news. I am very happy to extend my congratulations to the newly elected bureau members of the IPHRC in particular its new Chair Ambassador Muhammed Kawu Ibrahim. Their election by consensus speaks volume of the very cooperative relationship between Commission Members. I am sure this cooperation will also result in productive and substantive output from the IPHRC. On behalf of the General Secretariat I assure the Commission Members of its consistent and full support in discharge of their mandates. 

I am grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting this session and presence of H.E. Ambassador Mohammad Taib, who in his speech has eloquently highlighted the importance of this Commission for the work of OIC. Commitment of Saudi Arabia and other Member States to the work of this Commission remains crucial to achieving desired objectives set out by the Ten Year Programme of Action and the Charter of OIC in the field of human rights. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

As I have repeatedly stated, establishment of IPHRC is a milestone achievement in the four decade long history of OIC. IPHRC was among my priorities when I assumed the office and it provides me with a sense of fulfillment that it has come into being during the period of my tenure. 

While I take pride in zealously working for the establishment of this important organ in the OIC, I would like to put on record my sincere acknowledgement and appreciation for the Member States’ overwhelming support in creation of this institution in half the time stipulated by the Ten Year Programme of Action. Granting this body the statutory status of an independent organ as well as adoption of its Statute and Rules of Procedures were also done in a remarkably short time. 

All these developments reflect the defining characteristics of the new OIC, best summarized as “moderation and modernization process”. I am confident that such developments would ensure the resolute joint Islamic action that was envisioned by the Member States through the OIC Charter, Ten Year Programme of Action and bring added credibility to this respected international organization. 

I would also like to put on record my deep appreciation for the work done by the esteemed Members of this Commission. In a very short span of time, they have been able to produce a good set of rules of procedures and have been actively involved in crafting various aspects of their organizational and substantive work mandated by the Member States. Their interaction and participation in various human rights forums and organizations have also been widely appreciated by relevant international actors, which is a source of satisfaction for all of us. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The importance of this Commission in the OIC cannot be underestimated from any stand point. This advisory mechanism is needed not only for introspection and helping Member States in crafting, devising and implementing appropriate policies that are in line with fundamental human rights but also to dispel the growing misperception about the incompatibility between Islam and human rights. 

As a student of history and religion, I firmly oppose this notion. Islam is not merely a body of metaphysical doctrines, or a set of rituals, or even a set of rules of individual conduct. It indeed is a way of life, the basis of which lie rooted in divine revelations; a way of life, which is oriented to doing God’s will and actualizing good and righteousness in human life. 

Islam was the first religion that laid down universal fundamental rights for humanity, which are to be observed and respected in all circumstances. Islam called for full equality among human beings regardless of their race, religion, language, ethnic origin or social status, etc. and placed ‘hukook ul ibad’ or ‘rights of the people” on a very high pedestal. 

Distinguished Commission Members, 

An important task of the Commission would, therefore, be to bring about, through its work, the relevance of Islam to the problems and concerns of mankind in the present age. As recognized experts in the field of human rights and a think tank of the OIC on the subject, you must act to highlight the importance and relevance of Islamic values and teachings to addressing serious challenges faced by the present day humanity. 

Your expert advice could help the OIC to formulate policies and chart plans to addressing challenges faced by Ummah at national, regional and international levels in the field of human rights. I would recommend the Commission to appropriate creatively the healthy and beneficial elements from the cumulative treasure of human experience, and to employ them to serve the higher end of life embodied in the Islamic tradition. 

Your work would go a long way in dispelling misperceptions about our religion and projecting its true values. It would also help mainstreaming the human rights dimensions in the OIC programmes and activities aimed at facilitating the full enjoyment of human rights for Muslims and non-Muslims in Member States as well as of Muslim communities and minorities in non Member States. 

As I said on previous occasions, we have resolute confidence that this Commission would help bring a paradigm shift within OIC in the way universal rights and freedoms flow together with Islamic values to offer a coherent and strong system aimed at facilitating the full enjoyment of all human rights. 

Respected Commissioners, 

You are also aware that there is a high degree of expectation in terms of your future work. The OIC believes that the human rights framework to be pursued by the IPHRC should be based on structured engagement. An engagement that could underwrite global peace, security and stability by removing misperceptions and promoting interfaith harmony. Assisting the Member States in this important area could form a primary focus of the Commission’s work. 

The advantage of your expertise must be utilized to its maximum potential to review and update the OIC instruments on human rights such as the Cairo Declaration. I am sure that the Member States would draw on the full potential of your expertise both vis-à-vis OIC instruments as well as international covenants to come up with recommendations to fill up any gaps or strengthen existing standards. 

The Statute provides with the necessary guidance on the nature and scope of IPHRC. I would, however, summarize the task of the Commissioners to removing the misperceptions regarding the interface between Islam and Human Rights. At the same time, while the Statute of IPHRC entrusts you with specific mandates, your advisory capacity lends you the necessary space for positive interpretation of the mandates. 

I am pleased to note that the five key elements of complementarity, introspection, prioritization, incremental approach and credibility, which I submitted for consideration at the first IPHRC session in Jakarta were endorsed by the Commission as the guiding principles for its work. If pursued diligently, these principles would serve to enhance confidence in Commission’s work both within and outside the OIC, hence improving its credibility and effectiveness. 

I am also pleased that the Commissioners succeeded in evolving a priority list of thematic issues such as Women, Children, Right to development and Education etc. Other equally important areas that have been considered by the Commissioners are the question of Palestine, Islamophobia, incitement to discrimination and hatred on the basis of race and religion and the human rights of Muslim minorities and communities in the non Member States. These are all important and crucial areas that need to be addressed by the Commission. I had also submitted some thoughts on some of these priority areas, which I am sure would be given due consideration by the Commission Members. 

In order to ensure Commission’s efficacy, you must come up with concrete suggestions / best practices on priority areas, which could be presented to CFM for consideration and possible follow up by Member States. 

In terms of methods of work, I would like to submit that the Commissioners may like to work in small Working Groups on each priority area or subject of their specific interest. These working groups would also help consolidate contacts with relevant international human rights bodies on specific subjects and be able to pursue these matters vigorously at different forums. In this manner, concerted efforts could be made to prepare comprehensive research/studies on each subject during the inter-sessional period including through the use of distant communication. These studies should be shared with all Commission Members for views and approval during formal sessions, before onward submission as IPHRC recommendations to the Member States. 

I would also suggest that formal sessions should be dedicated to working on substantive issues and organizational / administrative aspects of IPHRC work could be addressed during the inter-sessional meetings. Establishment of the Bureau in this Session would help facilitate these organizational aspects. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The establishment of the Commission has been widely acknowledged as a positive step particularly in the human rights circles. It certainly has enhanced the visibility of the OIC but its true potential lies in enhancing the credibility of the OIC. At the same time, being the first cross regional human rights mechanism of its kind on the international scene, it is also under the close scrutiny of international community. There are already some circles closely monitoring its activities. Both the Member States and the Commissioners would have to build on this positive momentum to effectively portray the OIC vision of “moderation and modernization”. 

At our end, despite the limited human and financial resources, the Interim Secretariat within the General Secretariat has spared no effort towards facilitating the work and activities of the Commissioners. As per the Statute requirement, I have appointed the new Executive Director of the IPHRC. Pending a decision on the Headquarters, I have also appointed some colleagues from the General Secretariat to assist the Executive Director. This small team has been working vigorously to assist IPHRC and I am confident that they would ensure the conduct of yet another successful session. They have also prepared and shared a draft Budget, which hopefully will meet the financial needs of IPHRC’s planned activities in 2014. 

Regrettably, the IPHRC could not hold its 3rd Regular Session earlier but am happy to note that there were a range of productive activities in which Commissioners actively participated and presented the IPHRC views. I am confident that from 2014 onwards there will be two regular sessions of IPHRC and steady progress in other mandated activities such as inter-sessional working group meetings and interaction with regional and international human rights mechanisms. 

In order to have a better understanding of the global discourse on human rights as well as to assist the OIC Groups on Human Rights in Geneva and New York, it is crucial that Commission Members must attend the Human Rights Council Sessions in Geneva and Third Committee deliberations in New York. Similarly, the Commission must establish strong working relationships with regional human rights mechanisms from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. I strongly encourage the Commission to undertake the planned visit to EU and if possible attend the ongoing session of the Third Committee in New York, this year. It would help developing better understanding of the political side of human rights as well as establish regular communication channels with important UN mechanisms and agencies. 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The road ahead is long and the challenges numerous. However, the establishment of and support to this Commission are testament of OIC Member States’ continued commitment to prioritize human rights on its agenda. I am confident that through their unswerving commitment and cooperative work Commission Members will soon be able to realize the true potential of this independent advisory mechanism to the OIC. 

I am proud of being the part of this overall effort that led to the creation of this unique and pioneering body of independent experts at the OIC. Their independence is of paramount importance and must be safeguarded. Their expertise should be utilized to better understand the cross cutting nature of human rights related aspects on the whole range of issues on the OIC agenda. Their role must be strengthened as the collective human rights conscience of OIC. I have no doubts in my mind that if utilized effectively, this organ would serve to enhance the visibility and credibility of OIC in the international arena. 

IPHRC should also make use of its potentials in the most organized and professional manner. The Commission must organize itself to function in a coherent and credible advisory body that can perform its mandated tasks to the best interest of Muslim Ummah. As I stated earlier, the need to develop a strategy for an early harvest constitutes an imperative. The Commission must not waste time in addressing substantive issues in a prioritized fashion to realize this potential. I would reiterate my suggestion of a remedial rather than a judgmental approach as a solution provider for the benefit of Member States. I am confident that as mandated by the 12th Summit and 39th CFM, the IPHRC would present its two reports on the malaise of Islamophobia and discrimination against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar to the 40th CFM. 

Let me conclude by expressing my best wishes to the Commission Members for a very productive and successful Session. I shall always be looking forward to hearing good and positive news about this unique mechanism and would be happy to contribute to its success in whatever way I could. 

I thank you all. 

Source: OIC Secretariat

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Malala’s Lessons for the Muslim World

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Huffington Post

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Rules of Procedure of the IPHRC

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on June 27, 2013


Rules of Procedure of the

Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IPHRC)

OIC/IPHRC/ROP/FINAL

Rule 1 – Definitions

1)    The present Rules shall be titled: “Rules of Procedure of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC” and shall aim at setting procedures for holding sessions of the Commission and for the exercise of its functions.

2)    The present Rules shall also be applicable to any working group or other mechanisms that may be set up by the Commission.

3)    In the present Rules, the following terms and expressions shall have the meanings assigned to them hereunder:

OIC                                        The Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Summit                              The Islamic Summit of Kings and Heads of State and Government

Council                               The Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC

Charter                               The Charter of the OIC

Secretary General       The Secretary General of the OIC

General Secretariat    The General Secretariat of the OIC

Commission                  The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC

Secretariat                      The Secretariat of the Commission

Director                           The Administrative Director of the Commission

Chairperson                  The elected Chairperson of the Commission

Bureau                             The Bureau of the Commission composed of the Chairperson and two Vice-chairpersons one of whom serves as Rapporteur

Meeting(s)                     A meeting of the Commission (as a whole or part of the membership) including regular, extra-ordinary and emergency sessions or any of the mechanisms that may be established.

Commissioner(s)      The elected member(s) of the Commission

Statute                              The Statute of the Commission

Member States            The Member States of the OIC.

PART ONE: ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONING OF THE COMMISSION

SECTION I: NATURE AND OBJECTIVES

Rule 2 – Nature and objectives

  1. Commission shall be the principal organ of the OIC in the domain of human rights and shall exercise its functions in supporting Member States in the promotion and protection of human rights for all in an independent manner in accordance with the provisions of Charter, Statute and Council Resolution No. 2/38-LEG.
  2. Commission shall advance human rights and fundamental freedoms in Member States as well as the fundamental rights of Muslim minorities and communities in non- member States in conformity with the universally recognized human rights norms and standards and with the added value of Islamic principles of justice and equality.

SECTION II: MEMBERSHIP

 

Rule 3 – Composition

  1. Commission shall consist of eighteen (18) Commissioners elected by the Council in accordance with Chapter II of Statute.
  2. Two experts of the same nationality cannot be elected simultaneously as Commissioners.
  3. Member States shall ensure that the candidates with the highest degree of independence, impartiality, integrity and expertise are elected.

 

Rule 4 – Term of office

  1. Commissioners shall be elected for a term of three (3) years and may be reelected only once.
  2. The term of office shall commence on the date of the first regular session following the end of term of the outgoing Commissioners.
  3. In the event that new Commissioners have not been elected to replace those completing their term of office, the existing Commissioners shall continue to serve until new Commissioners are elected.

Rule 5 – Termination of office

  1. In the event of a unanimous agreement among all other Commissioners that a Commissioner is no longer apt to fulfill his/her functions for health or any other valid reason, Chairperson shall declare the post vacant and inform the Secretary General who shall take necessary administrative action.
  2. If a Commissioner is absent for three consecutive regular sessions without justifiable reason, the Commission shall declare the post vacant and inform the Secretary General who shall take necessary administrative action.
  3. In the event of death or resignation of a Commissioner, Chairperson shall inform Commission and the Secretary General who shall take necessary administrative action.
  4. When a post is declared vacant, the Member State of which the deceased or retiring Commissioner is national shall nominate another expert for the remaining period of his/her term of office, in accordance with Chapter II of Statute and the present rules of procedure.

Rule 6 – Independent status of Commissioners

  1. Commissioners shall act in their personal capacity and shall express their own convictions and views.
  2. In exercising their function, commissioners shall at all times uphold utmost professionalism, truthfulness, independence, impartiality and integrity whilst enhancing their moral authority and credibility, free from any kind of extraneous influence.
  3. Commissioners shall not receive instructions from any state, including their own, or any other third party.

Rule 7 – Solemn declaration

  1. Before assuming their duties, newly elected Commissioner(s) shall make the following declaration: “I solemnly declare that I shall faithfully discharge my duties with professionalism, truthfulness, independence, impartiality and integrity, free from any kind of extraneous influence, so help me God.”
  2. Chairperson shall conduct the ceremony.

SECTION III: BUREAU

 

Rule 8 – Election

  1. Commission shall elect Bureau from amongst Commissioners.
  2. Bureau shall consist of three Commissioners, each from one of the three constituent geographical groups. Election of the officers shall take place by seat,  starting with Chairperson and followed by the Vice-Chairpersons one of whom shall act as a rapporteur.
  3. In the absence of consensus, elections shall be held by secret ballot. Commissioner(s) obtaining a two-third (2/3) majority of those present and voting shall be elected. If, in the second (2nd) round, no candidate obtains the required majority, a third (3rd) round shall be organized between the two candidates who obtained the highest number of votes, and the Commissioner who obtains simple majority shall be elected. In the event of equal votes, the most senior Commissioner in terms of age shall be elected.
  4. Members of Bureau shall be elected for a term of office of three years. Offices of Bureau shall rotate on a yearly basis among its members.

Rule 9 – Renunciation by a member of Bureau

If a Commissioner declares his inability to continue in his/her duties as member of Bureau, Commission shall elect from the same geographical group another Commissioner for the remaining period of his/her term of office.

Rule 10 – Functions of Bureau

  1. Bureau shall be directly responsible to Commission and shall deal with procedural, organizational and representational matters, including in relation with Council.
  2. Chairperson, in consultation with Bureau as appropriate, shall carry out the functions that may be assigned to him/her by Commission as well as those assigned by the present rules of procedure; including:

a-    presiding over the sessions of Commission;

b-    acting as the spokesperson of Commission;

c-    supervising Secretariat; and

d-    performing functions, as may be required on behalf of the Commission, during the inter- sessional period.

  1. In the absence of Chairperson, he/she shall be replaced by a Vice-Chairperson.

 

SECTION IV: SECRETARIAT

 

Rule 11 – Structure

Commission shall be assisted by a Secretariat headed by a Director appointed in accordance with Statute. Secretariat shall provide Commission with such staff members, material means and services as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions.

Rule 12 – Functions

  1. In addition to the functions specified elsewhere in the present rules of procedure, Secretariat shall prepare all necessary documentation, including draft agendas, programs of work and reports of Commission’s sessions.
  2. Secretariat shall receive and transmit to Commission any correspondence or communication addressed to it. Secretariat may also request of any interested party information or documents, it considers relevant, for consideration by Commission.

Rule 13 – Functions of Director

  1. Director shall direct, plan and coordinate the tasks of Secretariat and coordinate the operational, technical and budgetary aspects of all functions related to Commission.
  2. Director shall assist Commission and its members in carrying out their functions and duties.
  3. Director shall be responsible for making all appropriate arrangements for the smooth running of Meetings.
  4. Director, or his/her representative, shall attend Meetings without participating in deliberations or in the vote. Director may, however, be invited by Chairperson as appropriate, to make written or oral statements at Meetings pertaining to the work of Commission.
  5. Director shall implement any other task entrusted to him/her by Commission or Chairperson.

 

SECTION V: SESSIONS

 

Rule 14 – Duration of sessions

In order to carry out its functions, Commission shall hold two (2) regular sessions a year, each for a duration of five (5) to ten (10) days. Extraordinary and emergency sessions may be convened for a duration not exceeding five (5) days.

 

Rule 15 – Venue of sessions

Commission shall convene bi-annually at its Secretariat, in regular sessions. It may also hold sessions, at another venue, at the request of any Member State or of the Secretary General with the approval of the Member States’ simple majority.

Rule 16 – Date of sessions

  1. Secretariat, in consultation with Bureau, shall endeavour to ensure predictability with regard to the dates for holding the two annual sessions of Commission to enable it to set the dates for the following session at the end of each session.
  2. Director shall inform Commissioners of the date and venue of Meetings. A formal notification shall be sent, in case of a regular or an extraordinary session,  at least forty (40) days before the session. In case of an emergency session, the notification should be sent at least five (5) days before the session.

Rule 17 – Extraordinary sessions

  1. The request to hold an extraordinary session of Commission emanates from the Secretary General or a Member State and requires the approval of Member States’ simple majority according to Article 18 of Statute.
  2. General Secretariat shall circulate the request to Member States who shall respond at the earliest, pursuant to Article 18 of Statute. An absence of response shall be deemed as consent.
  3. Commission shall accordingly meet at an appropriate date to be agreed between the Secretary General and the host State.

 

Rule 18 – Emergency Sessions

An emergency session of Commission may be convened by Chairperson, in consultation with Bureau, to address situations calling for immediate attention by Commission.

 

Rule 19 – Quorum

Two-thirds (2/3) of Commissioners provided there are at least (3) from each region, shall constitute the quorum for regular, extra-ordinary and emergency sessions of Commission.

Rule 20 –Public and private meetings

  1. Meetings shall, in principle, be public unless Commission decides otherwise.
  2. At the beginning of public Meetings, Commission shall announce the conclusions and decisions adopted during preceding private Meetings, if any.

SECTION VI: PROVISIONAL AGENDA

 

Rule 21 – Provisional agenda of regular sessions

  1. Director shall draw up the provisional agenda of each session in consultation and with the consent of Chairperson, in accordance with the provisions of Statute and the present rules of procedure.
  2. The provisional agenda may include items proposed, inter alia, by a Member State, an inter-governmental organization or NGO enjoying consultative status and national human rights institution of a Member State.
  3. Proposals under paragraph 2 shall be communicated to Director at least sixty (60) days before the start of the session. Observations of Director shall be taken into account while including proposals made pursuant to this Rule in the draft agenda.
  4. Items proposed under paragraph 2 should be accompanied by all related documentation and with an explanatory note, and should reach Secretariat at least forty five (45) days before the session of Commission.

 

Rule 22 – Provisional agenda of extra- ordinary and emergency sessions

The provisional agenda of the extraordinary and emergency sessions may only include the items for which the session is convened.

 

Rule 23 – Transmission and distribution

  1. The provisional agenda and its related documents shall be transmitted by Director to Commissioners at least thirty (30) days prior to regular and extraordinary sessions.
  2. Director may, in consultation with Chairperson and at least fifteen (15) days prior to regular and extraordinary sessions, distribute all the documents related to the items on the agenda of the session to General Secretariat, subsidiary organs, affiliated and specialized institutions, Member States, national human rights commissions, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations enjoying the OIC consultative status and Muslim communities and minorities throughout the world.

Rule 24 – Adoption of the agenda

  1. Commission shall adopt its agenda at the beginning of Meetings.
  2. At the end of each session, items to be included on the provisional agenda of the following session may be proposed. In the absence of consensus, the adoption of the proposed item shall require simple majority of Commissioners present and voting.

SECTION VII: CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

 

Rule 25 – Duties and powers of Chairperson

In addition to other powers conferred upon him/her by the present rules of procedure, and in conformity with these rules, Chairperson, in conducting Commission’s proceedings, shall have the following duties and powers:

a-    To declare open and close the Meetings;

b-    To direct the proceedings with a view to ensuring the efficient conduct of business. Chairperson may grant and withdraw the floor; limit the time accorded to each speaker; redirect the course of discussion in case of deviation from the matter under discussion; and, subject to Rule 26, close the list of speakers;

c-    To call for vote on any matter under discussion and announce the outcome of such vote;

d-    To rule on points of order

e-    To declare the adjournment and the closure of debates as well as the adjournment and suspension of meetings.

Rule 26 – List of speakers and limit of time

  1. Chairperson shall grant the use of the floor to the speakers in the order in which it has been requested.
  2. Chairperson may limit the time accorded to speakers and the number of their interventions.
  3. Chairperson may, during a debate, read out the list of speakers and with the approval of Commission, declare the list closed. Where there are no more speakers, Chairperson shall declare the debate on the matter under discussion closed.

 

Rule 27 – Points of order

  1. During the debate a Commissioner may, at any time, raise a point of order on which Chairperson shall decide immediately. If a Commissioner objects, the decision shall immediately be put to the vote to be maintained or overruled by a simple majority.
  2. When raising a point of order, a Commissioner shall not debate the substance of the matter under discussion.

 

Rule 28 – Motion for the adjournment or closure of debates

A Commissioner may, at any time, move for the adjournment or closure of the debate. In the absence of a consensus, the motion shall be put to vote.

Rule 29 – Motion for the suspension or adjournment of meetings

During the discussion of any matter, a Commissioner may move for the suspension or adjournment of the meeting. In the absence of a consensus, the motion shall be put to vote.

Rule 30 – Motion on competence

Any motion tabled on the competence of Commission shall immediately be put to vote.

 

Rule 31 – Reconsideration of proposals

When a proposal is adopted or rejected, it shall not be reconsidered at the same session except by a unanimous decision.

 

SECTION VIII: ELECTIONS, VOTING AND DECISION MAKING

 

Rule 32 – Right to vote

The right to vote shall only be exercised by Commissioners. Each Commissioner shall have a single vote. In the event of a tie vote, Chairperson shall have the casting vote.

 

Rule 33 – Request for vote

A proposal or a motion submitted to Commission shall be put to vote if so requested by more than one Commissioner.

Rule 34 – Required majority

  1. Commission adopts its recommendations and decisions by consensus. In the absence of consensus, the decision may be adopted by a two-third (2/3) majority of Commissioners present and voting on substantive matters, and a simple majority on matters of procedure.
  2. In any case, a minimum of ten (10) affirmative votes shall be required for decision on non procedural matters.

 

Rule 35 – Method of voting

  1. Commission shall vote by show of hands. At the request of any Commissioner it can resort to roll-call vote, in which case the vote of each Commissioner shall be recorded in the minutes. Each Commissioner would be entitled to a brief explanation of his/her vote.
  2. Commission may decide to hold a secret ballot.

 

Rule 36 – Elections

In the case of multiple candidatures, elections shall be held by secret ballot.

Rule 37 – Decision making during inter-sessional periods

Commission may take decisions, as appropriate, during the inter-sessional period through electronic communication.

 

SECTION IX: MINUTES AND REPORTS

 

Rule 38 – Session report

  1. Secretariat shall record and preserve the proceedings of Commission Meetings.
  2. Secretariat shall prepare a draft session report and circulate it to Commissioners who shall have a fifteen (15) day deadline to introduce any factual rectifications. The final decision in this regard shall rest with Bureau.

 

Rule 39 – Reporting

Commission may periodically submit to the Council reports which may include, inter alia, the following:

a)    The status of implementation of its mandate and tasks assigned by the Council.

b)    Information and recommendations, as applicable, on the Member States’ status of ratification and implementation of OIC covenants and declarations and International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law treaties.

c)    Activities in support of Member States’ efforts in terms of policies aimed at enhancing legislation and policies in favour of the advancement and consolidation of human rights

d)    Activities in support of OIC position on human rights at the international level and consolidating cooperation among Member States in the field of human rights.

e)    The progress of provision of technical cooperation in the field of human rights and awareness–raising about human rights in Member States.

f)     Activities in support of the role of Member State-accredited national institutions and civil society organizations active in the field of human rights.

g)    Coordination of efforts and information exchange with Member States’ working groups on human rights issues in international fora.

h)   A mandated thematic analysis of the status of promotion and protection of human rights in Member States to be conducted, inter alia, on the basis of:

  1. observations and conclusions based on studies and research carried out by Commission or following visits to Member States upon request;
  2. reports submitted by Member States to the UN human rights treaty bodies;
  3. reports presented to other regional mechanisms of which Member State(s) are equally members;
  4. reports of Member State-accredited national human rights institutions and civil society organizations active in the area of human rights.

i)     Visits and contacts undertaken during the reporting period.

j)      Recommendations submitted to Council as stipulated in Rule 43.

k)    Other activities that may be undertaken during the reporting period.

 

Rule 40 – Recommendations to the Council

  1. Commission shall include in its reports to Council recommendations on measures necessary for the promotion of respect for human rights in Member States with a view to facilitating the implementation of the tasks of Commission conferred by the Summit or the Council and drawing their attention to any issue of relevance or urgency.
  2. Recommendations submitted to the Council must draw on good practices in the field of human rights.
  3. Recommendations may be on any matter pertaining to its mandates and objectives.
  4. Recommendations should, as appropriate, be accompanied by description of means of implementation, as well as the relevant technical assistance that could benefit Member States in implementing the said recommendations.

 

SECTION X: WORKING GROUPS AND CONSULTANTS

 

Rule 41 – Setting up of working groups

Commission may, as necessary, set up working groups and other relevant internal mechanisms to facilitate the performance of its functions.

Rule 42 – Consultants

Commission may, as appropriate, recruit the services of consultants to avail of specific studies or provide relevant material and documentation in areas related to its mandate.

Rule 43 – Roster of experts

Secretariat shall keep a list of renowned individuals to benefit from their experience and expertise in the different fields relevant to Commission’s functions.

 

SECTION XI: PARTICIPATION IN COMMISSION’S PROCEEDINGS

 

Rule 44 – Participation in Commission’s proceedings

  1. Representatives of Member States and OIC Observers may participate in public Meetings, as observers, and may make proposals without voting rights.
  2. After approval of the host country, Commission may invite OIC subsidiary organs and specialized and affiliated institutions, relevant OIC accredited governmental and non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and national human rights institutions, to participate in its sessions as guests.

 

Rule 45 – Participation of other individuals and organizations Commission may invite an individual, organization or other relevant entities whose aims and purposes are in conformity with the spirit, objectives and principles of Charter to facilitate exchange of views on any specific issue under consideration.

 

Rule 46 – Consultation

Commission may consult an individual, organization or other relevant entities whose aims and purposes are in conformity with the spirit, objectives and principles of Charter on issues pertaining to human rights within its mandates.

 

SECTION XII: LANGUAGES

 

Rule 47 – Languages

  1. The official languages of Commission shall be Arabic, English and French.
  2. All documents of Commission as well as all speeches delivered in any of the working languages shall be translated and interpreted into the other two.
  3. Any person submitting a document or making an address at Commission in a language other than the official languages must provide their translation/interpretation in one of the official working languages.

SECTION XIII: ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

 

Rule 48 – Preparation of the budget

Secretariat, in consultation with Commission, shall prepare the draft budget of Commission concurrently with the schedule of the budget preparation of General Secretariat.

 

Rule 49 – Budget submission

Secretariat shall submit the draft budget of Commission to the OIC Permanent Finance Committee at least sixty (60) days before the date of its meeting for consideration, opinion and recommendation to the Council for its approval.

 

Rule 50 – Estimates

During Meetings, any proposal by a Commissioner entailing financial implication shall prompt Secretariat to prepare the budget estimate related to the said proposal and submit it, as soon as possible, to Commission. Chairperson shall draw the attention of Commission to those implications before it takes action on the proposal.

 

Rule 51 – Voluntary funding

  1. Commission may periodically re-assess its financial requirements, and reallocate funds based on changing priorities with notification to Secretariat. Commission may also accept voluntary contributions from Member States or from external sources provided donations are accepted only from appropriate donors whose aims and purposes are in conformity with the spirit, objectives and principles of Charter and without prejudice to the independence of Commission’s work and activities.
  2. Commission’s report to Council on financial matters shall detail sources and expenditure with regard to voluntary contributions.

 

Rule 52 – Financial responsibility

  1. The budget of Commission is used to cover all expenses related to Commission’s normal operations and activities, including expenses entailed for its Secretariat staff.
  2. The overall expenses of Commission’s regular annual sessions shall be borne by the host Member State.

 

Rule 53 – Allowances

Commissioners travelling on official missions for Commission, including participation in Meetings shall be granted a travel allowance equivalent to 140% of the rates paid to Assistant Secretaries-General in accordance with the OIC Financial and Personnel Regulations.

 

Rule 54 – Administrative and financial rules

Without prejudice to the provisions of Rule 53, the relevant provisions of the OIC Financial and Personnel Regulations shall govern Commission.

 

PART TWO: FUNCTIONS OF COMMISSION

 

SECTION XIV: PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES

 

Rule 55 – Promotional activities

  1. Commission shall pursue activities and devise programs in cooperation with Member States geared towards promotion and protection of human rights.
  2. Commission may organize workshops, trainings or seminars on priority human rights issues, in conformity with its mandate and objectives. Commission may also provide publications for posting on its website. It may also undertake awareness campaigns in favor of the objectives outlined in chapter III of Statute.

 

SECTION XV: PREPARATION OF STUDIES

 

Rule 56 – Preparation of studies

  1. Commission shall prepare studies and research on priority human rights issues,  including those referred to it by the Council.
  2. Studies and research initiated by Commission may, inter alia, include studies on international human rights norms and standards aiming at promoting intercivilizational dialogue and understanding.
  3. Studies may also aim at promoting the implementation of international norms and standards in relation to the rights of Muslim minorities and communities.
  4. Commission may prepare research, studies, texts elaborating definitions, explanations, etc. on certain Islamic notions and values, with a view to assisting the OIC representation at international fora

 

SECTION XVI: TECHNICAL COOPERATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING

 

Rule 57 – Technical cooperation and capacity building

Commission may extend technical assistance for capacity building in Member States.  Such projects may be conducted in cooperation with OIC subsidiary organs and specialized and affiliated institutions, international agencies, Member States’ governmental organizations and accredited National Human Rights Institutions and civil society organization active in the area of human rights.

 

Rule 58 – Roster of excellence, research and training centers

In order to facilitate Commission’s task in the field of technical cooperation and capacity building, Secretariat shall establish, besides the list of experts provided for under Rule 43, a list of centers of excellence, research and training, active in the field of human rights.

 

Rule 59 – Updates on main human rights initiatives

Secretariat may assist Commission in keeping it informed of the principal initiatives undertaken and results achieved in the field of promotion and protection of human rights by Member State-accredited National Human Rights Institutions and civil society organizations active in the area of human rights. The same information shall also be made available to Member States.

 

SECTION XVII: SUPPORTING OIC POSITION IN INTERNATIONAL FORA

 

Rule 60 – Comments on Human Rights Agenda in international fora

  1. Commission may provide comments on items included on the OIC agenda and the agenda of the relevant UN bodies and other international fora on issues of interest to Member States.
  2. Commission may also prepare analyses and formulations as contribution to the content of draft resolutions sponsored by the OIC Groups.

 

Rule 61 – Designating focal points and special representatives

Commission may designate focal points and special representatives to address specific issues on the OIC agenda and/or the UN human rights agenda.

 

SECTION XVIII: GOOD PRACTICES

 

Rule 62 – Compendium of good practices

  1. Commission shall establish a compendium of good practices in the political and juridical fields aimed at the promotion of the rights of women, children and people with special needs as well as in matters relating to all forms of discrimination and violence.
  2. Secretariat may periodically solicit information on legislation, institutions and policies of Member States in the above-mentioned fields, so as to constantly update the compendium of best practices.

 

SECTION XIX: COOPERATION WITH OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

 

Rule 63 – Cooperation with international and regional human rights mechanisms

  1. Commission may maintain regular interaction with competent bodies within the UN system as well as with regional human rights mechanisms within its mandates.
  2. Commission may take necessary measures to follow and participate in discussions and meetings on key human rights issues at the international and regional levels.

 

SECTION XX: NEEDS ASSESSMENT MISSIONS

 

Rule 64 – Needs assessment missions

Commission may, with the consent of the concerned State, undertake needs assessment missions for matters under consideration.

 

SECTION XXI: ELECTION OBSERVANCE

 

Rule 65 – Election observance

Commission may, with the consent of the concerned State, participate in election observance missions in Member States and express its opinion and recommendations thereon.

PART THREE: TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

 

SECTION XXII: TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

 

Article 66 – Rotation of terms

  1. At the end of Commissioners’ first term of office, nine (9) Commissioners, three from each of the constituent geographical groups, shall exceptionally be reelected for eighteen (18) months in order to ensure the continuity of Commission’s work and expertise, without prejudice to the provisions of Rule 4 of the present rules of procedure.
  2. The Council shall designate nine (9) Commissioners to be re-elected through a drawing of lots.

 

Rule 67 – Computation of dates

All periods set forth in the present rules of procedure in number of days shall be understood to be counted as calendar days.

 

Rule 68 – Implementation

In the absence of specific provisions in the present rules of procedure, Commission shall take decisions on the basis of consensus or by two thirds (2/3) majority.

 

Rule 69 – Amendments

The present rules of procedure may be amended by consensus or by two thirds (2/3) majority. Amendments shall enter into force from the date of their adoption.

 

Rule 70 – Entry into force

The present rules of procedure shall enter into force from the date of endorsement by the Council.

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OIC Human Rights Commission finalizes its Rules of Procedure The Commission focused on Human Rights in Palestine, Syria, Mali and of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on September 10, 2012


30/08/2012 | OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) concluded its Second Session in Ankara today, Friday, 31 August 2012. The 5-day Session was chaired by Ms. Siti Ruhani Dzuhayatin. The Commission, most importantly, finalized rules of procedure in accordance with the timeline stipulated by the Statute and in time for onward transmission to OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) for endorsement.

The Commission focused on the human rights aspects of situations in Palestine, Syria, Mali and that of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The Commission strongly condemned the continuing human rights violations perpetrated by Israel, being the occupying power, in Palestine and other Arab territories, with particular reference to the policy of settlements in terms of its implications towards the whole range of human rights of the Palestinian people as well as international efforts towards durable peace in the Middle East.

The Commission expressed serious and grave concern at the reported human rights violations, committed by both sides in the ongoing crisis in Syria, the Commission emphasized the primarily responsibility of the state to maintain law and order and called for a humanitarian pause in the armed conflict with a view to making a needs assessment. The Commission expressed grave concern at the reported human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The Commission also decided to send a fact-finding mission for an on ground assessment of the situation of Rohingya Muslims and requested the Chairperson to contact the government of Myanmar to that end. The Commission expressed concern at human rights violations perpetrated by terrorist groups against unarmed civilians in Mali and the destruction of sites classified by UNESCO as world cultural heritage. The Commission emphasized the importance and need for concerted efforts by the international community towards finding political solutions to the situations in Syria, Mali and that of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar with particular reference to an early repatriation of refugees in the neighboring countries.

In terms of the priorities identified at the First Session in Jakarta, the Commission focused on rights of Women and the Child as well as Right to Development (RtD) and set up a working group to come up with approaches towards addressing these rights with a view to providing advisory opinion for the benefit of the Member States. The Commission also set up a working group with a view to advising the Member States on ways and means to combat Islamophobia and incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds, within the human rights framework. The Commission emphasized the importance of research and studies on themes of human rights significance with a view to furnishing informed advisory to Member States.

The 18 member Commission constitutes the first body of independent experts in the four decade long history of OIC.

Source: OIC Secretariat

 

 

 

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Turkish FM says Turkey to step in for every humanitarian issue

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on September 4, 2012


August 30, 2012

Davutoglu has called on the international community to share the burden stemming from the increasing number of Syrians taking shelter in Turkey.

The Turkish foreign minister has said Turkey would take part in the solution process of every humanitarian issue even if it happened in a remote part of the world.

“It does not matter whether it happens tens of thousands of kilometers away. Wherever there is a humanitarian issue and a violation of human rights or wherever a community that has historical ties with us faces torture, Turkey will be there,” said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, while opening the second session of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IPHRC), together with OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in Ankara.

“Whenever OIC launches an initiative on these issues, Turkey will take part in it and extend the necessary support,” he also said.

The foreign minister said IPHRC had assumed a historic responsibility, underscoring that the Commission was not a technical structure, but a philosophical one.

“OIC is not a platform where only the political issues of members states are discussed. It is a wide-scale global platform where problems of the Muslim world and basic humanitarian matters are addressed,” he said.

The minister noted that Islamic world currently faced both theoretical and practical challenges. “Unless there is a revolution in minds, nothing can be achieved in practice,” he said.

Davutoglu also asserted that some circles tried to establish the perception that Islamic world and its values of civilization did not conform with universal humanitarian values. “This attitude is not fair,” he said.

“These are our values as well, they were not injected into the Islamic world from outside. Islam was substantively founded on these values,” Davutoglu said.

“The concept of human rights, both in theory and practice, is not incompatible with the fundamentals of Islamic civilization,” he continued.
Davutoglu emphasized that protection of human life, mind and property were the main principles of Islamic law.

“The mission of this Commission should be to introduce a new human rights approach,” he said, “Unless a new mentality is formed, global challenges could not be addressed.”

The foreign minister also noted that the Muslim world should be seriously evaluated in terms of the practice of human rights.

Developments in Muslim countries

Regarding the developments in Syria, Davutoglu said Syrian people demanded intellectual freedom and the right to express their political opinions.

Pointing to OIC’s suspending Syria’s membership, Davutoglu said Syria would again participate in the organization’s activities as a prestigious member once a new administration was formed in the country in line with people’s demands.

“Turkey is not the protector of any religious group in Syria. Turkey values all religious or sectarian groups in Syria the same and considers the protection of their culture as a key human rights issue,” he also said.

Commenting on the situation in Palestine, Davutoglu said, “Every human rights violation concerning Palestine should be brought forward with the strongest voice.”

The foreign minister suggested that rapporteurs should be assigned by the OIC to examine human rights violations in Muslim countries and the organization should impose sanctions afterwards if necessary.

Pointing to the problems of Muslim minorities all over the world, Davutoglu said all Muslim minorities, whether those in the Balkans, India, Russia, China or Myanmar, were the actual owners of those territories and they had been living there for centuries.

“OIC, as a globally rising institution, should secure the presence of these minorities,” he said.

Touching on the ongoing crisis in Myanmar as well, Davutoglu said, “What happens in Myanmar is a test for all of us.”

Recalling his recent visit to Myanmar’s problematic Rakhine state, Davutoglu said he had conveyed to the Burmese government the message that Muslims living in Rakhine were a part of Myanmar.

Turkish FM urges international community to share burden on Syrian refugees

The Turkish foreign minister has called on the international community to share the burden stemming from the increasing number of Syrians taking shelter in Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu responded to questions of reporters during a press conference with Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in capital Ankara.
Upon a question on the Syrians fleeing the violence in their country, Davutoglu said the number of Syrians seeking shelter in Turkey had exceeded 80,000.

“Turkey, on one hand, wants to fulfill its humanitarian duty towards Syrians with whom it has historic ties of brotherhood. But on the other hand, the rising number of refugees brings a certain load. This burden has to be shared with the international community,” the minister said.

“As figures continue to increase, we are taking precautions at international level. We also invite UN mechanisms to take action,” he added.

Thanking the residents and officials of cities near the Syrian border for their efforts to accommodate Syrians, Davutoglu said it was quite normal to take precautions against social issues that might arise in the region.

He said Syrians who crossed the border without passports were accommodated in camps, while relevant residence-related procedures were applied for those holding passports.

“It is obvious that these people are not coming to Turkey as tourists. Therefore, it is normal to take several measures,” Davutoglu noted.
The minister said camps in the region were operated in line with international standards, underscoring that journalists and statesmen could visit the region freely.

Davutoglu recalled that Turkey had earlier hosted Turks from Bulgaria, Kurds from Iraq and the Bosniak from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“When these 80,000 people, comprising of women escaping from rape, children with no parents and old people without any relatives came to our doors, should we have rejected them and sent them away to air raids and snipers?,” Davutoglu said.

Commenting on the Syrian question, OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu stated that his organization closely monitored the developments and it would soon send field hospitals and mobile clinics to the region.

Missing Turkish cameraman in Syria

Regarding the recently broadcast video footage of Turkish cameraman Cuneyt Unal missing in Syria, the minister said he was happy to see that Unal was alive.

Davutoglu said the video clearly showed that Unal delivered a statement previously dictated to him and he could not have turned into an armed militant all of a sudden.

“The Syrian regime can declare a cameraman or an opponent a terrorist. Anyone who raises his voice against cruelty can be named a terrorist, Israeli spy or something else,” he said.

The minister also underscored that Unal’s health was now the responsibility of the Syrian state.

Turkish FM calls on Muslims to defend human rights as Islamic values

The Turkish foreign minister has said Muslims should defend human rights as values of the Islamic civilization.

“It is time that the Islamic world and all Muslims, both individually and collectively, stand up and defend human rights as values of our civilization all over the world,” said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, appearing at a joint press conference with Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Turkish capital.

Speaking to reporters following the second session of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), Davutoglu pointed out to the rising demands for democracy and human rights in Islamic societies.
The minister said the Commission’s activities would constitute an important opportunity for the realization of such demands.

“Our main expectation from the Commission is to establish the understanding that the concept of human rights is not in contradiction, but in conformity with fundamental values of the Islamic civilization, and that Muslims should be the leading defenders of human rights,” Davutoglu said.
“This is a revolution of mentality. A new perception is needed in the world,” he continued.

Davutoglu also said IPHRC should not remain a commission only, but turn into a human rights institution of the Islamic world just like the structure within the Council of Europe.

“We are ready to extend all kinds of support to achieve this goal,” he said.
OIC head Ihsanoglu said in his part that high international standards in human rights could not be achieved in a day, but objectives could be accomplished gradually.

Source: Muslim Village

 

 

 

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IPHRC Holds Second Session in Ankara

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on September 4, 2012


 

The Second Session of the OIC Independent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) is being held in Ankara, the capital of the Republic of Turkey, from August 27-31, 2012. 

The inaugural Session was addressed by the Foreign Minister of Turkey Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu and the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu who, In their remarks, paid rich tribute to the Commission Members for their high degree of commitment, devotion and professionalism that has contributed to the remarkable progress made in the work of Commission in a short time since establishment. They expressed the confidence that the Second Session in Ankara would contribute significantly towards institutionalizing IPHRC as an important pillar of restructuring and reform at the OIC. The OIC Secretary General underscored the importance of the IPHRC and stated that its establishment was a fulilment of one of the major goal and objective laid out in the OIC Ten-Year Programme of Action. He said that the Commission would serve as a reference point in profiling the importance accorded to human rights in Islam, at the global level. He added that the Commission was a major focus of international attention contributing to the visibility and credibility of OIC as an Organization propelled by the vision of ‘moderation and modernization’ . 

The Ankara Session is expected to adopt the draft rules of procedure and take up human rights situation of Muslims in OIC and non-OIC countries İncluding those in Syria, Mali and Rohingya Muslim in Myanmar. 

The Secretary General and the Commission memebers also called on the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament, H.E. Mr. Cemil Cicek. The Speaker welcomed the Secretary General and the Commissioners for the holding the Session in Turkey. He stressed on the significance and importance of IPHRC towards the cause of human rights and in Muslim countries and raising the profile of the OIC in the international community.

 

 

 

 

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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 »

OIC, Human Rights and Indonesia’s Role

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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