The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) is an expert body with advisory capacity established by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as one of the principal organs working independently in the area of human rights.
The broad contours of an effective and independent human rights mechanism were envisaged in the OIC Ten-Year Programme of Action adopted by the 3rd Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, on 7-8 December 2005. Accordingly, the creation of IPHRC was enunciated in the New OIC Charter adopted by 11th Islamic Summit held in Dakar, Senegal, on 13-14 March 2008. The Commission was formally launched with the adoption of its Statute by the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 28-30 June 2011.
The nascent Commission has since emerged as a fully functional human rights mechanism pursuing its multidimensional objectives and mandates. From its first regular session, the Commission adopted a set of five guiding principles for its work that were submitted by the OIC Secretary General in his inaugural statement. These include the principles of complementarity, introspection, prioritization, incremental approach and credibility.
Within the first year of its creation, the Commission elaborated its detailed Rules of Procedure, which were adopted by the 39th Session of the CFM as well as identified concrete areas of priority, namely rights of women, rights of the child, human rights education and the right to development. IPHRC has also offered programmes of assistance to Member States in a variety of areas such as advancing human rights, reviewing the corresponding domestic legislations, counseling with regard to obligations under international human rights instruments, awareness campaigns and provision of technical assistance for capacity building etc.
Mission and Objectives
IPHRC’s objectives and mandates cover a wide range of activities including the following:
- Advising OIC’s policy-and-decision-making bodies on all matters in the realm of human rights.
- Undertaking studies and research in the field of human rights.
- Advancing human rights and fundamental freedoms in Member States as well as the fundamental rights of Muslim minorities and communities in non-member states in conformity with the universally recognized human rights norms and standards and with the added value of Islamic principles of justice and equality.
- Promoting and strengthening human rights in Member States by providing “technical cooperation and assistance in the field of human rights and awareness-raising”.
- Pursuing interfaith and intercultural dialogue as a tool to promote peace and harmony among various civilizations and to promote the true image of Islam.
- Extending support to Member States and their national institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights for all in an independent manner.
- Reviewing OIC’s own human rights instruments and recommending ways for their fine-tuning, as and where appropriate, including the option of recommending new mechanisms and covenants.
- Promoting cooperative working relations with relevant bodies of UN and OIC, as well as relevant regional human rights mechanisms.
- Promoting and supporting the role of Member States’ accredited civil society organizations.
- Participating in missions for observing elections in Member States.
OIC IPHRC comprises 18 Members with established distinction in the area of human rights. They are elected on the basis of the principle of equitable geographical representation (six each from the three geographical regions i.e. Africa, Arab and Asia) and with due regard to gender balance. Members of the Commission are nominated by respective governments and are elected by the CFM for a three-year period renewable once.
Following are the present members of the Commission:
- Amb. Abdul Wahab
- Dr. Oumar Abou Abba
- Prof. Raihanah Binti Abdullah
- Mr. Mahmoud Mostafa Afifi
- Amb. Ilham Ibrahim Ahmed
- Amb. Mostafa Alaei
- Dr. Rashid Bin Hamed Al-balushi
- Dr. Saeed Mohammad Alghufli
- Prof. Saleh Mohammed Alkhathlan
- Dr. Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin
- Dr. Ergin Ergul
- Mr. Mohamed Tahar Hamdi
- Mr. Mahamad Al-Bachir Ibrahim
- Mr. Med S.K. Kaggwa
- Mr. Adama Nana
- Mr. Alhoussene Thiam
- Amb. Cheikh Tidiane Thiam
- Ms. Asila Wardak
IPHRC Secretariat is headed by the Executive Director, (Mr. Marghoob Saleem Butt).
Objectivity and Independence
IPHRC follows the internationally recognized norms, standards and procedures for ensuring objectivity, independence and professionalism in the performance of its mandated tasks.
Each elected Commissioner is required to make a solemn declaration, before assuming responsibilities, for faithfully discharging her / his responsibilities with professionalisms, truthfulness, independence, impartiality and integrity. In exercise of their functions, Commissioners are bound to uphold utmost professionalism, truthfulness, independence, impartiality and integrity whilst enhancing their moral authority and credibility, free from any kind of extraneous influence. Commissioners are barred from receiving instructions from any State, including their own, or any third party.
A Cross-regional Mechanism with Global Dimensions
IPHRC has a number of unique features distinct from other existing mechanisms. With its Member States spread over four continents, most of them covered by their respective regional and sub-regional mechanisms, IPHRC is designed to work as a cross-regional human rights mechanism that brings together and promotes the universal character of human rights. It also has a global dimension as its multifaceted role extends to issues on international human rights agenda that equally affect the lives of human beings in Member and non-member States.
While working in cooperative manner with all relevant mechanisms, the Commission tries to avoid duplication, works on areas of complementarities and value-addition and focuses on the remedial aspects of the promotion and protection of human rights.
Work in Progress
In the short span of three year, it has deliberated on a number of important issues of contemporary concern such as rights of women and children, right to development, combating Islamophobia, extremism and intolerance as well as human rights situations in different countries. Besides writing a number of reports on specific subjects required by the CFM such as HR situation in the Central African Republic, Negative impact of Economic and Financial Sanctions on the full enjoyment of human rights of people of the OIC Targeted Countries and Combating Islamophobia, it has also finalized its Rules of Procedures, established specific working groups / mechanism to have focused work on core issues of concern to the Commission. IPHRC regularly interacts with other regional and international Human Rights mechanisms and looks forward to collaborating on issues of common concern for strengthening universal values of human rights at all levels. Details of its activities including regular sessions and other seminars/ workshops, as well as participation in various meetings are available on its website ( www.oic-iphrc.org ).
IPHRC is equipped and determined to play its due role within Member States and beyond. In the process, it welcomes views and suggestions in the interest of advancing the noble Islamic principles of justice and equality and for realizing the laudable ideals recognized by Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its first preamble: “..the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.
All those wishing to share their views, inputs and suggestions with the Commission may kindly do so through the Commission’s common e-mail: email@example.com