RIGHT OF REPLY ON BEHALF OF OIC TO THE STATEMENT BY SPAIN ON BEHALF OF EU UNDER AGENDA ITEM 9 – 8 APRIL 2002

RIGHT OF REPLY ON BEHALF OF OIC TO THE STATEMENT BY SPAIN ON BEHALF OF EU UNDER AGENDA ITEM 9

The Member States of the OIC are most disappointed that the representative of Spain, speaking on behalf of the EU and other associated countries, resorted once again to the practice of cataloguing a number of countries of human rights concern. This catalogue, as usual, included a large number of Islamic countries. Unfortunately, it did not list human rights violations taking place within EU or in the associated countries.

This approach of selective targeting lies at the root of the political confrontation and acrimony which often marks the deliberations of the Commission. This political confrontation now threatens to descend into a clash of cultures. For instance, we deeply resent the statement made by the distinguished representative of Germany this morning calling for a debate on the incompatibility of parts of the Sharia with the international covenants on human rights. The Sharia is sacred. We cannot question its timeless validity or subordinate it to norms evolved by fallible humans.

We are also incensed that the EU statement made no mention of the hundreds of Muslims who have been killed by military occupation forces or by fanatical anti-Muslim mobs in various parts of the world in recent months.

Indeed, after the September 11 tragedy, Muslims have become the favourite targets in several Western and other European countries. Abuse and calumny are spread against Islam and Muslim peoples in many European and associated countries. The war on terrorism is sought to be misused by some to deny Muslim peoples their right to struggle for self-determination and freedom.

That the EU normally targets only certain countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America, would seem to imply that the human rights situation is acceptable only in Europe and North America. This is another reflection of cultural arrogance. Such arrogance is the root of the violations which are currently taking place against foreigners and immigrants, particularly in the countries of Europe and in several countries which associated themselves with the EU statement.

In view of the paucity of time, we cannot now submit a catalogue similar to the EU’s. But, the OIC will shortly distribute a list of EU and associated countries involved in massive violations of the human rights.

The OIC calls on the European Union to spend some more in introspection and self criticism, rather than throwing stones which may smash its own house of glass.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.