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OIC's human rights arm focuses on family values
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 04 - 2015

Layan Damanhouri
Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The Secretariat-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) officially opened the seventh session of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) on Tuesday under the theme “Protecting Family Values”.
Ilham Ibrahim, ambassador of Sudan to Sofia and chairperson of the IPHRC, called for the commission to be more involved in women advancement strategies.
She also called for scaling up the organization's work so it became one of the regional mechanisms for the promotion of human rights.
The chairperson expressed her gratitude to the Kingdom for hosting a new headquarters for the IPHRC and for its support in facilitating the stability and work of the commission.
Ibrahim commended the activities of the IPHRC since its creation and praised its successes over the past three years by adopting mechanisms for cooperation with international human rights bodies as well as establishing a website.
OIC Secretary-General Iyad Madani stressed the importance of creating a code of human rights in Islam, not in order for it to be imposed on member states, but for it to become a standard for what states do about human rights.
Madani also stressed the importance of independence in the commission's work, especially intellectual freedom in discussion and decision-making.
The secretary-general commended the moral, logistical and financial support of the OIC Secretariat for the IPHRC, adding that Muslim people were proud of the organization's establishment and anticipated fruitful outcomes in the near future.
He also called for the need to create a close link between the commissions and the International Islamic Fiqh Academy because many interrelated issues are discussed at their respective meetings.
Madani further stressed the need to protect family values and said women as mothers can play an effective role in the society.
Madani emphasized that the consultative status of this commission empowers it to defend Islam while at the same time fight extremism.
OIC Ambassador for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva Zamir Akram gave a speech before conducting lengthy discussions on all issues on its agenda, including the issue of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in OIC member states; the situation of Muslim minorities in Myanmar and the Central African Republic; and the situation of human rights in India-occupied Kashmir.
In addition to the regular meetings of the IPHRC's four working groups on Palestine, rights of mothers and children, Islamophobia and Muslim communities and their right to development, the commission also discussed and finalized its draft framework for engaging with civil society such as non-governmental organizations.
The upcoming fifth meeting of the Istanbul Process on UN Resolution 16/18, which aims to tackle religious intolerance and stigmatization, will be hosted by the OIC in Jeddah in June.

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