OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), while commemorating the ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week’, joins the international community in emphasizing the imperative need for mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, dialogue among different faiths and religions and respect for diversity in all its dimensions to achieve sustainable and equitable development for creation of peaceful and inclusive societies.
In today’s well integrated world, cultures constantly interact and influence each other, especially given the present global migration trends and other factors, which bring people of different backgrounds and religions into ever closer contact. As societies embrace new cultures and diversity, there are obvious differences and frictions, which at times lead to divisive political populism and extremism. But, despite existence of cultural differences, the homogenizing effect of globalization has led to the emergence of a global culture of human rights values that brings people closer and eliminates harmful traditional practices for common good of humanity. Hence, the respect for cultural diversity represents respect for the shared human values, which form the bedrock of the universality of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) embraces 57 Muslim nations from three continents with different cultures and social customs including religious minorities from different faiths and religions. Accordingly, the OIC has always been committed to promoting and protecting the cultural and religious diversity through dialogue and development within the OIC and beyond. The OIC Charter commits its Member States to promote international peace and security, understanding and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions and foster noble Islamic values concerning moderation, tolerance and respect for diversity.
In November 2017, IPHRC held a thematic debate on the topic of “Importance of cultural diversity in the protection and promotion of human rights” and while welcoming the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal, it recognized the respect for cultural diversity as an integral element for ensuring sustainable development of nations and cultures through inter-cultural understanding, global citizenship and shared responsibility.
The IPHRC strongly believes that cultural and religious diversity can serve as a soft power tool to share knowledge and bridge differences between nations and societies. To this end, IPHRC calls upon the Media houses, in particular, regulators of Social Media, which have become powerful vectors for shaping the public opinion, to use their outreach and connectivity strengths positively for promoting mutual respect, accepting diversity and differences for building multicultural societies. IPHRC also calls upon Member States to actively involve women, youth and religious leaders in promoting interfaith harmony that would lead to better understanding, wider acceptability and bringing lasting reconciliation and peace for sustainable development of societies where “no one is left behind”.