STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR MUNIR AKRAM, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PAKISTAN

OIC Statement at the 58th Session of the Commission on Human Rights on Agenda Item 3 – Organization of the Work of the Session

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the Members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference I have the honour to congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident that your vast diplomatic experience will be of immense value in ensuring a positive outcome of our deliberations during this important session of the Commission. Let us assure you that the OIC Group would extend its full cooperation to you in this endeavour.

Guided by the Holy Quran, respect and promotion of human rights is one of main pillars of Islam. The situation of human rights of the Muslim people, minorities and communities any where in the world is an important item on the agenda of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC has adopted several important resolutions at its ministerial and summit meetings, which condemn the violations of the human rights of Islamic peoples of occupied Palestine and other Arab territories, Jammu and Kashmir, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and the inhuman isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people.

The OIC considers that it has an important role in the work of the Commission on Human Rights. Our approach is imbued with the Islamic prescription of dialogue and has been positive and constructive.

The Islamic world was unanimous in condemnation of the terrorist attacks against the United States. Our Governments have offered all possible cooperation to the international coalition against terrorism. The Islamic world considers terrorism as a grave violation of the human rights and condemns it in all its forms and manifestations, including State terrorism. We believe that there must be a clear definition distinguishing terrorism from the legitimate struggles of peoples for their right to self-determination and against foreign occupation or alien and colonial domination.

It is indeed unfortunate that certain forces have exploited the aftermath of September 11 to justify intensification of the repression of peoples in Palestine, Kashmir and elsewhere. They have added insult to the injury by denigrating our eternal religion, Islam, and its tenets and values, and sought to insidiously associate it with terrorism. Such attempts, apart from being self-serving, are morally outrageous and should be condemned by the international community. This session of Commission should act vigorously to counter those who promote Islamphobia and vile propaganda against Islam, its values and Muslims in various parts of the world. The OIC will seek actions on these issues during this Session of the Commission specially under the resolutions dealing with the Defamation of Religions as well as Human Rights and Terrorism. In accordance with OIC Ministerial and Summit resolutions the security of each Islamic state is a common OIC concern.

In this context, we believe that the campaign to eradicate terrorism is unlikely to succeed without addressing the root causes of terrorism, such as foreign occupation, poverty, under-development, the inequities in international economic order and inequality within and across societies and double standards that create unfairness.

The OIC deplores the practice of adoption, year after year, of resolutions critical of several Islamic countries. We believe these are politically motivated and do not help in promoting the human rights objectives of the international community. There is a case of one OIC country whose human rights situation has been considered for nineteen years in this Commission despite wide acknowledgement by the international community of the significant progress made in the promotion of human rights in that country.

The Commission on Human Rights must assume its responsibility towards alleviating the plight of the Palestinian people and other occupied peoples. The Islamic countries deeply resent the failure of Israel to comply with the resolutions of the Commission and other UN bodies. The unabated violations of the rights of the Palestinian and other Arabs under Israeli domination must be effectively addressed during the session of the Commission. A heavy responsibility rests on the Commission to halt the massive killings of innocents that is taking place today in occupied Palestine. As a first step, the principles of international law and humanity must be observed. Recent initiatives from the Arab and Islamic world offer the best hope for reviving the peace process and negotiating a just peace for the Middle East.

The OIC also desires a just and peaceful solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with international legality. It calls for commencement of a dialogue between India and Pakistan for this purpose and to reduce the present dangerous tensions between them.

The OIC countries are most concerned at the situation of Muslim communities in several countries. We deplore the killings, carnage and discrimination to which so many Muslims are being subjected in these countries.

The OIC Members have called for rationalization of the work of the Commission by biennilizing resolutions and focusing on important current issues with a view to facilitate meaningful discussions and adoption of action oriented and forward looking resolutions.

The Islamic countries highly value the services of the Special Rapporteurs for promoting human rights in the world. The OIC suggests that the Special Rapporteurs should discuss the issues which they wish to address in their future reports and to present their reports in accordance with the ECOSOC guidelines.

The success of the Commission hinges on the open-ended and transparent negotiations on resolutions. We would urge the sponsors to accord serious consideration to the proposals of the Islamic countries on the issues of vital concern to them.

While we hold the Sub-Commission and its members in high esteem, the OIC believes that the recommendations of the Commission on the review of mechanisms must guide the Sub-Commission’s work and activities. The Sub-Commission can provide a valuable input to the promotion of human rights even if it does not consider country specific resolutions.

The OIC countries call for discontinuation of the exchange of confidential information between the Secretariat of the Commission on Human Rights and Women Division under 1503 procedures. This enjoys no legal mandate. In certain instances such an exchange could violate the confidentiality of the procedure.

The OIC deeply appreciates the growing role of civil society, specially the Non-Governmental Organizations, in the promotion of human rights all over the world. We would encourage the NGO community to issue joint statements wherever feasible, and to follow the ECOSOC guidelines for their participation in the work of the Commission.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.