OIC to celebrate International Human Rights Day

by MCR Correspondent

Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen, Secretary-General of the OIC has announced plan to join the international community in commemorating the Human Rights Day.

While announcing this in a statement on Thursday December 10, 2020, Al-Othaimeen reiterated the need to be part of the global celebration.

“As the world faces unprecedented challenges resulting from COVID-19 pandemic, H.E. the Secretary General would like to call upon OIC Member States and other stakeholders to continue honouring their obligations and commitments and adopt human rights-based approaches liable to ensure inclusion, accountability, non-discrimination, equality and equity consistent with universal human rights values and standards.

“States must ensure that restrictions on fundamental freedoms must be nondiscriminatory proportionate and considerate and must be subject to review by the competent legal authorities,” the statement reads.

It adds that the post pandemic world has caused glaring inequalities, discrimination and abuse of human rights.

“It is appalling that human rights violations continue to disproportionately affect millions of Muslims across the world including women and children, especially females, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people.

“These vulnerable people are increasingly exposed to the fatalities of the pandemic due to lack of resources, hostilities and discrimination,” Al-Othaimeen said in the statement.

He added that in the wake of these grave human rights challenges, the world needs to revive the shared values of freedom, justice, and equality.

He continued that the scale and coverage of the response, especially during roll out of the much-awaited vaccine or other therapeutic regimes, would test the bonds of human solidarity and collective responsibility.

Al-Othaimeen stressed that States must ensure that protection and fulfillment of human rights and fundamental freedoms should remain at the center of all prevention, containment and therapeutic efforts to ensure human dignity, non-discrimination and wellbeing of all individuals, especially the vulnerable and marginalized segments of human society.

“The world needs to join hands to counter the rising trends of Islamophobia, which is emerging as a manifestation of racism and discrimination. In this respect, the OIC considers the defamatory caricatures of the Prophet of Islam as a stark abuse of the freedom of expression, and is tantamount to discrimination and intolerance.

“There is, thus, an urgent need for the engagement of global political and religious leadership to initiate a comprehensive inter-civilizational dialogue to eliminate ‘double standards’, bridge the socio-cultural and religious misperceptions and develop better understanding of each other’s sensitivities,” he stated.

He further stated that OIC is willing to cooperate and collaborate, including through the effective implementation of UN HRC Resolution 16/18, which aims at rooting out hate speech.

Human rights issues have gained traction and increased importance within the OIC ever since the adoption of its Ten-Year Program of Action in 2005 and its revised Charter in 2008. In this regard and within its mandate, the OIC, in coordination and cooperation with the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), took practical steps to revise the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam by unanimously adopting the OIC Cairo Declaration on Human Rights, during the 47th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Niamey, Republic of Niger on 27-28 November 2020.

This is truly a monumental achievement for the OIC and the Member States to finally adopt a human rights Declaration, which not only establishes compatibility with the universal human rights instruments but also incorporates the key Islamic concepts to reflect the Islamic ethos and values of the Muslim communities around the world.

OIC attaches great importance to Women Rights, which is reflected in the operationalization of the Women Development Organization, headquartered in the Arab Republic of Egypt, as the first specialized organ of the OIC concerned with women issues, the advancement of their status and the reinforcement of their capacities in Member States.

Also, OIC Member States, cognizant of the importance of the protection and promotion of child rights, especially girl child, adopted OIC ‘Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam’ (OCRCI) in 2005.

The 47h CFM, considered the revised draft of the OCRCI titled ‘OIC Convention on the Rights of the Child’ presented by the IPHRC and decided to constitute an Intergovernmental Working Group to discuss and finalize the revised text draft and bring it to conformity with universal human rights.

OIC remains committed to its objectives to uphold and promote good governance, democracy, humanrights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law and is willing to extend its cooperation to all stakeholders.

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