OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) delegation led by its Vice Chairperson, Dr. Rashid Al Balushi, participated in the 44th Session of the OIC Conference of Foreign Ministers (CFM) held in Abidjan Republic of Cote d’Ivoire from 10-11 July 2017. In his address, Dr. Al Balushi welcomed the theme of 44th CFM “Youth, Peace and Development in a World of Solidarity”, and expressed hope that the outcome of the Conference would be instrumental in steering the Ummah towards achieving these goals, by promoting education and creativity in all member States through strengthening the role of youth in all aspects. He also highlighted that the establishment of IPHRC goes in line with these objectives and the role of this Commission remains crucial to achieving OIC’s desired objectives delineated in its Ten-Year Program of Action and revised Charter.
Dr. Balushi also shared details of IPHRC work with Member States and affirmed that, despite resource constraints, IPHRC’s independent and qualitative work was widely recognized by the international human rights community. Describing the achievements of the Commission, he conveyed that IPHRC conducted two field visits to Palestine and Kashmir and wrote detailed reports on the ongoing human rights situation that were presented to the CFM for its consideration. Dr. Balushi also informed the meeting that the IPHRC has ably completed the two CFM mandated reports, namely on the subject of “Sexual orientation and Gender identity” and to review the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam against existing universal human rights instruments. Both these studies with concrete recommendations have been submitted to the 44th CFM for consideration and appropriate follow up.
On the sidelines of the 44th CFM, Dr. Balushi, updated the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir about the outcome of the fact-finding visit under taken by the IPHRC delegation to Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad on the invitation of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The contents of the detailed fact-finding report presented to the CFM was also shared and the Contact Group was urged to use its influence to implement the practical recommendations contained in the report which includes pressurizing the Indian Government to agree to facilitate the IPHRC fact finding visit to the IoK to objectively report upon the allegations of human rights violations in the IoK.
The 44th Session of CFM also held elections for 09 Members of the Commission for a period of three years with effect from February 2018. The elected members are Mr. Adama Nana (Burkina Faso), Mr. Alhousseine Thiam (Republic of Guinea), Ambassador Muhammad Lawal Sulaiman (Federal Republic of Nigeria), Professor/Dr Rajaa Naji Mekkaoui (Kingdom of Morocco), Dr. Rashid Bin Hamed Al Baloushi (Sultanate of Oman), Mr. Fahad bin Abdullah Al Ajlan (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Ambassador Mohammad Zamir (People’s Republic of Bangladesh), Dr. Omer Faruk Altantas (Republic of Turkey), Professor/Dr. Akmal Kholmatovich Saidov (Republic of Uzbekistan).
Dr. Balushi informed the meeting that the IPHRC has started functioning from its own independent Headquarters in Jeddah, which is generously provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also thanked all Member States for their moral and material support and requested for its continuation to enable the Commission to perform its mandated tasks.