THE OIC HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES

1
OIC INTER-INSTITUTIONAL FORUM
ON THE OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION
OF THE 60th ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNIVERSAL
DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
GENEVA
19th DECEMBER 2008
—————
Panel on Inter-institutional dialogue on development issues
and humanitarian Assistance
THE OIC HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES
By
Ambassador Atta El Manan Bakhit
OIC INTER-INSTITUTIONAL FORUM
ON THE OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION
OF THE 60th ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNIVERSAL
DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
GENEVA
19th DECEMBER 2008
—————
Panel on Inter-institutional dialogue on development issues
and humanitarian Assistance
THE OIC HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES
By
Ambassador Atta El Manan Bakhit
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please allow me first of all to express my heartfelt thanks to
the organisers of this important event marking the 60th
Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights
for have invited me on behalf of the OIC General Secretariat
to address this gathering in order to exchange on issues
pertaining to humanitarian activities within the framework of
the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Prior to delving into the subject proper, I would like to say
few words about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
which took place 60 years ago in a highly polarized and
divided world.
The event in itself was an extraordinary achievement for the
whole humanity because it laid the foundations for a safer
world despite the shortcomings and the persistence of the
threat of war.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has given birth
to an array of legal documents and concepts such as the
international humanitarian law which governs and guides
relations between various segments involvement in the
humanitarian field.
2
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is also common knowledge that humanitarian activities
have been on the increase for quite sometimes for various
reasons, all over the world. The OIC which is an
intergovernmental Organisation comprising 57 Member
States could not sit idle and let things happen without
intervening given the important number of its Member States
which were in need of humanitarian assistance.
Indeed, humanitarian activities have been in one way or
another high on the agenda of the OIC since its inception in
1969 through different organs of the General Secretariat.
However, it is in December 2005, in Makka, when leaders of
the Islamic Ummah met for an Extraordinary Summit that
the idea of having a specialized Department within the
setting of the OIC General Secretariat especially devoted to
humanitarian activities really took off the ground.
So the highest decision making body of the OIC which is the
Summit unanimously adopted the OIC 10 Year Programme of
Action which set the guiding principles for the OIC to
intervene in such a complex and wide domain.
Since then, many conferences and meetings took place and
in June 2008, OIC Foreign Ministers adopted Resolution
No.11/35-C establishing a fully fledge Department for
Humanitarian Activities known in short as ICHAD which
stands as “The Islamic Conference Humanitarian Affairs
Department”.
However the OIC did not wait until such a date to take
different humanitarian initiatives in order to alleviate the
suffering and the lot of people living in OIC Member States or
3
Non Member States since most activities where performed
under the wing of the Cabinet of the Secretary General.
But prior to that, emergency relief was extended to the needy
people, orphans were looked after, many hospitals, medical
centres, schools, houses, universities and centres of learning
were built thanks to the Islamic Solidarity Fund or the funds
received from many benefactors and philanthropists. In fact,
humanitarian activities are not alien to Islam which a religion
of peace, tolerance, compassion and good deeds.
Where do we stand now with ICHAD?
 In December 2004, a year before the Makkah
Extraordinary Summit, the world witnessed the biggest
human tragedy in its history since the end of the 2nd
World War. Indeed, many Asian countries were hit by
huge tidal wages which caused widespread destruction.
Indonesia, which is one of the OIC founding Member
States, was the most affected country. The OIC reacted
by launching an ambitious campaign throughout the
Islamic Ummah. This drive led to the establishment of
the OIC Fund for the Orphans victims of Tsunami which
up to now over 10,000 orphans under its custody. Our
target is to reach 25,000 children. The principle behind
this scheme is that philanthropists, benefactors, donors
or Member States sponsor one or several children up to
the age of 18 by paying 30 US dollars per month. The
scheme is jointly implemented by the OIC and the
Islamic Development Bank. There is one office on the
ground which works with Project Implementing Agencies
(PIA). All activities are performed through an efficient
computer network system which deals with real time
information.
 After the end of the Balkan war, many people were
displaced from their houses and many more were
uprooted from their country of birth. So the OIC decided
4
to move and set up a Fund called the Fund for the
Return of Bosnia Refugees. It is located in Sarajevo in
Bosnia Herzegovina and receives funding from the OIC
Member States and its various benefactors. The Fund
has so far helped rebuild schools, hospitals, houses for
the returning refugees and financed farming and selfemployment activities besides its core humanitarian
activities which were centred on providing humanitarian
assistance to the victims of ethnic cleansing. Thanks to
this Fund, many Bosnians have returned to their
abandoned homes with their families and are engaged in
self-employed activities.
 In Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, the OIC is very busy in
these two countries thanks to its Funds who have
embarked on humanitarian and post conflict
reconstruction activities. The two Funds have built
socioeconomic infrastructures such as hospitals,
schools, jetty, houses, fisheries, boreholes. Blankets,
heaters and warm clothing are also distributed in winter
in the case of Afghanistan. Health workers and teachers
are being trained since Afghanistan and Sierra Leone
experienced workforce has been devastated by prolonged
civil strife.
 ICHAD is also involved in Gaza. It has so far sent two
humanitarian convoys to that place through the Saudi
and the Hashemite Red Crescent which provided
technical support. Prior to that, the OIC launched a
telethon which enabled ICHAD to buy drugs, infants
foods, medical supplies, blankets, tents, etc. ICHAD is
busy preparing a third humanitarian convoy for Gaza.
 Recently, YEMEN has been hit by very serious flooding
and in most parts of the country; roads, bridges and
ways of communications were broken. ICHAD
dispatched a fact-finding mission which assessed the
situation and bought blankets, drugs and tents for the
5
needy in addition to the advocacy role it performs it
such circumstances.
 When Mozambique was confronted with the same
situation, the OIC sent a contribution to this country
and built an OIC village comprising 100 houses with the
collaboration of Deniz Feneri, a well-known Turkish
NGO active in rural development and emergency relief.
 When Algeria, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan
and Pakistan were facing serious natural disasters, the
OIC launched several appeals to the international
community and the Islamic Ummah to come to their
rescue and help them overcome this situation.
 ICHAD has also sent two field missions to the Somali
Refugees camps in Dadaab which is in Kenyan territory.
Indeed there are three camps harbouring over 200,000
refugees whose numbers are constantly swelling since
1991. Our Department has assessed the humanitarian
needs and put the information at the disposal of our
partners in the field so as to contribute to improving the
lot of these longstanding refugees.
 ICHAD has also jointly organised in June 2007 in Doha
(State of Qatar) an international donors’ conference for
the Republic of Niger to beef up its food capacities to
help this country overcome its recurrent drought.
Pledges amounting to over 360 millions dollars were
made and the process is underway to open a
coordination office in Niamey to implement the project.
 Cooperation agreements and memorandum of
understanding have been signed with international and
regional partners to boost the capacity of ICHAD in its
interventions by forging partnership and close forms of
collaboration.
6
 This year in Senegal, ICHAD organised the first
humanitarian NGOs of the OIC countries in Saly
Portudal. Over 60 NGOs participated and important
recommendations were submitted to the Dakar Summit
which acknowledged the role played by the Saly
Conference in bringing together all OIC NGOs involved
in humanitarian activities.
What is next?
 ICHAD is preparing the Darfur international donors’
conference in collaboration with IDB so as to help tackle
the roots of this conflict which is more economical and
development oriented than anything else.
 ICHAD is going to launch a humanitarian campaign for
Somalia following the worsening of the situation in this
country which has been plagued with the scourge of war
for nearly two decades now.
 ICHAD will launch its third humanitarian convoy to
Gaza.
 ICHAD will boost its legal framework and conceptual
tools through an overhauling exercise.
 ICHAD will make its presence more felt in the Balkans
and the Caucuses.
 ICHAD is planning to organise the 2nd OIC
Humanitarian NGOs Conference in compliance with the
recommendations of the Saly Conference.
 ICHAD is working to establish an OIC NGO Forum
which will be under the OIC umbrella all NGOs working
in the humanitarian field.
7
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This in a nutshell, what I wanted to share with you regarding
the OIC humanitarian activities implemented through
ICHAD. I know that the Department is quite young and the
road ahead will be a long and arduous one but we are ready
as a team and organisation to rise up to the challenges and
expectations of the Islamic Ummah by rendering professional
services.
I thank your for your kind attention.