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Organization of Islamic Cooperation sets up own rights panel

Thursday June 30, 2011 09:06:25 AM, Staff Reporter

Malegaon: In an interesting development, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has decided to establish a human rights panel of its own to safeguard basic freedoms for Muslims, a media report said.

“We have been acting swiftly through an open and credible process in taking concrete steps toward establishing the Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights (IPCHR)", Arab News quoted OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu as saying at ASTANA in Kazakhstan.


He described the creation of the Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights (IPCHR) as a seminal event in the organization’s history.

“The new commission will be totally independent. The 18 human rights experts from 18 different Arab, Asian and African member states will decide their own agenda", he said adding that the new commission will cooperate with the United Nations human rights body.


“Since the OIC has three major geographical groups, namely African, Asian and Arab, each region will have six members on the commission. Each region has selected its six members, and the commission has now become a reality,” he said.

Ihsanoglu reiterated that promotion and protection of human rights including the rights of women, children, youth, the elderly and people with special needs, as well as the preservation of Islamic family values, have been enshrined in the OIC Charter.


“It requires the member states to uphold and promote good governance, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, at both the national and the international levels,” he said.

The concept behind the IPCHR was approved in principle last year during the OIC meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, but Saudi Arabia and Iran could not agree on where the panel would be headquartered. This year that barrier came down, and Jeddah was selected as its base of operations.


“This is the first time that such an exercise is being carried out in the Muslim world. It will be 100 times better to hear what is happening in our countries from our own people rather than from the outside world,” said one delegate. “Of course, we are not in the habit of hearing any criticism from fellow member states, but eventually we will learn to set our houses in order to avoid attracting criticism.”




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