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Danish researcher evaluates world’s first Muslim human rights commission

Sunday January 22, 2012 06:59:59 PM, IINA

Jeddah: A Danish researcher recently published a report on the world’s first Muslim human rights commission: the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission established by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The report by Marie Juul Petersen, a researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, is published on the website of the UK-registered non-profit foundation OpenDemocracy (


While Petersen points to a few limitations of the Commission and the challenges, from her perspective, after a thorough study of the Commission’s statutes and mandates, she praises the initiative as an important part of OIC reform process. She does not fail to connect the significance of establishing the Commission with the sea of change taking place as a result of the “Arab Spring” of people demanding welfare, democracy and rights.

Petersen considers the establishment of the Commission as a product of a strong political will on the part of the OIC member states to create a human rights mechanism. The Commission, she states, will create a much-needed forum for internal criticism and introspection, and it will be a vehicle for stronger relations between the OIC and civil society.

Petersen concludes by stating that the future of the Commission will not only depend on the Commission’s 18 expert members, OIC member states and civil society organizations, but also on the international community and its will to get involved with the Commission.

The OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu had summarized in his opening remarks at the Commission’s brainstorming meeting held in December in preparations for their first formal meeting,  the task of the Commission to removing the misperceptions regarding the interface between Islam and Human Rights.


He emphasized five points: complementarity of the Commission’s tasks to the work of existing human rights organizations (value added), introspection (remedial not judgmental), prioritization, incremental and progressive approach, and credibility both within and outside the OIC domain.

He considered ascertaining credibility as perhaps the most crucial and urgent task.

The Commission will hold its first formal session in Indonesia in February 2012.




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