GROUP STATEMENT BY

OIC Statement at the 59th Session of the Commission on Human Rights on Agenda Item 3 – Organization of the Work of the Session

Madame Chairperson,

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Conference.

Promotion of human rights is an integral feature of our divine religion. We believe in the values of peace, tolerance, respect for diversity and well being of all human beings within and outside our societies and countries. The objectives of the Commission on Human Rights conform to the objectives of Islamic polity, governance and way of life. The spirit of cooperation and dialogue guides our approach.

We would like to welcome Mr. Sergio De Melllo, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to his first session of the Commission. We are confident that in accordance with his noble mandate he would be a spokesman for all cultures, religions, value systems and ensure the promotion of the fundamental rights of all peoples. We assure him of our full cooperation in the dispensation of his mandate.

The OIC is deeply concerned over increased polarization and confrontation that presently characterize the Commission on Human Rights. The OIC is ready to play a constructive role for promotion of consensus and harmony in this body of rights which is essential for the implementation of its decisions.

The country specific resolutions are the primary source of confrontation. The OIC deplores the practice of adoption, year after year, of resolutions critical of several Islamic countries. We believe these politically motivated resolutions do not help in promoting the human rights objectives of the international community.

The OIC deeply resents the fact that all resolutions sponsored by the developing and Islamic countries on issues such as defamation of religions, globalization, right to development are subjected to a vote. The resolutions still adopted by consensus owe this to the responsible and non-partisan attitude of the Islamic countries. We would continue to demonstrate our responsibility in this regard and invite our interlocutors to reconsider their actions and response to the resolutions sponsored by the Islamic and developing countries.

The OIC supports the consensus on document E/CN.4/2003/118 on the "Enhancement of the working methods of the Commission". We believe that further rationalization of the Commission’s agenda and reduction in the number of resolutions adopted annually can have significant impact on the functioning of this commission. The organization of a joint debate on related agenda items, or their biennial consideration deserve further exploration.

The timely availability of documents is an essential pre-requisite for an informed debate. Regrettably as a result of lengthy and late submission of reports these documents are received at a very late stage. The OIC would reiterate its call for adherence to the relevant ECOSOC resolutions in this context.

The OIC in principal remains opposed to any additional meetings except in extreme situations. Strict enforcement of punctuality, joint statements by the NGOs and reduced speaking time can eliminate the need for additional meetings.

The OIC treasures the contribution of the special mechanisms and mandate holders who are supposed to operate within the limits of their mandate. The OIC is concerned over the interpretations of mandate on the part of some Special Rapporteurs which has led to a difficult dialogue in the past. The Special Rapporteurs, are requested to take our valid concerns into account in order to avoid erosion of consensus on thematic resolutions.

The OIC recognizes NGOs among important actors in the Commission. Given the strict time constraints in which CHR would have to organize its work and ever expanding NGO participants, we propose that they voluntarily agree to make joint statements if their number exceeds a certain threshold. We hope that the NGOs would also adhere to ECOSOC resolutions in respect of their participation, including circulation of documents and other activities.

The OIC regrets that working groups established by the Commission are not treated equally by certain regional groups. We encourage all partners to avoid double standard in the implementation of Commission’s decisions.

The practice of accreditation of the same individual from the platform of more than one NGO has been addressed by the OIC in previous Sessions. We believe this practice must come to an end. We would encourage NGOs to ensure that only their genuine representatives participate in the deliberations of the Commission. The OIC calls upon the Commission to exercise vigilance and caution to avoid infiltration of terrorist groups in the guise of NGOs.

The OIC expects that the traditional sponsors of number of resolutions would demonstrate transparency and flexibility, to facilitate participation of small delegations and take on board the valid and considered views from our Group. Early transmission of drafts by co-sponsors can be helpful towards transparent negotiations.

The OIC would also like to address some of its longstanding concerns regarding the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Office needs to assimilate larger representation from the developing and Islamic countries which are least represented. Human rights are universal values. The institution entrusted with their promotion and protection must reflect this in its personnel strength.

The OIC is deeply concerned over the reports that the prescribed procedure for the individual complaints is not being fully observed. The use of the media reports as a basis of the communications on the violations of human rights to concerned countries is completely unacceptable. We would request the High Commissioner to ensure sanctity of the procedure.

The views of this Group on the on-going exchange of classified information between the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretariat of the Commission on Status of Women (CSD) under 1503 procedure and the recycling of the communications are known to the Office. We expect appropriate action for redressing these concerns.

The OIC feels that earmarked voluntary contribution dovetailed with appointment in the Office from the donor countries seriously undermine the independence of the Office of the High Commissioner. The continuation of this practice has led to donor countries ideological monopoly over the Office of the High Commissioner and a shift in the personnel strength heavily in their favour. The OIC would encourage the donors to extend un-earmarked contributions to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The OIC has taken note of the recommendation of the Office of the United Nations Office of Oversight and Inspection on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Considering the assurances offered by the High Commissioner on several occasions we trust that he would do his utmost to fully implement these recommendations.

I thank you, Madame Chairperson.