OIC marks 10th anniversary of Human Rights Council’s landmark resolution

OIC marks 10th anniversary of Human Rights Council's landmark resolution

Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The OIC joins the international community in commemorating the 10th anniversary of the landmark Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution titled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief”, which was first adopted by consensus on 24 March 2011.

Resolution 16/18 remains a unique document in elaborating a universally agreed upon 8-point Action Plan to combat the growing problem of religious intolerance, xenophobia, discrimination and violence. Since 2011, the consensual adoption of the resolution at the UN General Assembly and the HRC demonstrates international community’s united front against this scourge.

As implementation mechanism of the resolution 16/18, the Istanbul Process has served as a useful platform to deepen dialogue, enhance mutual understanding and share best practices among States, civil society and other relevant stakeholders. The OIC welcomes Pakistan’s announcement to host the next (8th) meeting of the Istanbul Process in Islamabad.

The 10th anniversary of the HRC resolution 16/18 affords us a timely opportunity to take stock of the progress made as well as the multifaceted challenges, which we face today in curbing religious intolerance, bigotry, and violence.

In this regard, the OIC regrets that systemic and systematic worldwide prevalence of Islamophobia, particularly in the wake of 9/11, has increased discriminatory laws, policies, and State practices, targeting Muslims due to minorities, at the individual, community and institutional levels.

The global surge in Islamophobia and its wide-ranging human rights implications are corroborated by the recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also accentuated Islamophobic sentiments and acts and is evident from the sharp spike in hate speech and hate crimes against Muslim minorities, including well-orchestrated smear campaigns to stigmatize Muslims as spreaders of the deadly virus.

The tidal wave of populism, racism, and ultra-nationalism is fueling hostility against Islam and Muslims, as State representatives and government officials vilify Islam and Muslims through falsely associating them with terrorism and extremism for political gains.

Certain sections of mainstream media, think-tanks, and academia have emerged as apologists for such xenophobic and exclusionary ideologies. The unregulated social media platforms have also amplified negative stereotyping and stigmatization of Muslim individuals and communities.

The OIC re-emphasizes that contempt and hostility against Islam have triggered provocative incidences of willful defamation of Islam, denigration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and desecration of religious scriptures under the cover of free speech or press freedom.

The right to freedom of expression and opinion is neither absolute nor grants anyone the license to deliberately provoke and hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims.

Therefore, on this occasion, the OIC reaffirms its firm resolve to combat religious intolerance, xenophobia, discrimination and Islamophobia in all its forms and manifestations.

We reiterate the call, issued by the Foreign Ministers of the OIC countries that the UN General Assembly declares the 15th of March as “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” for increasing public awareness about this salient human rights issue.

We also urge members and observers of the Human Rights Council, UN human rights mechanisms, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to further optimize efforts for the full and effective implementation of the 16/18 Action Plan.

Source link