The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), while joining the international community in observing the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2018’ and its theme “Promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination”, affirms its commitment to recognizing, addressing, and eradicating all forms of racism and ethnic oppression across the world.
The Commission underscores that Islam laid the foundation of a culture steeped in the principles of equality among all human beings regardless of caste, color, creed or religious beliefs. It did not look upon human cultures in terms of black and white nor divide human societies into spheres of absolute good and absolute evil. Almighty God has described the human diversity as a sign of God’s majesty within the concept of Unity in Diversity. Therefore, acceptance / respect for cultural pluralism is not based on any expediency or opportunism but it has come from Islam’s pristine universal teachings of equality of entire mankind.
While reflecting on the resurgent phenomena of racial discrimination across the world, the Commission regrets that, lately, the signs of intolerance and failure to accept the diversity are ominous in the form of growing tide of xenophobia, hatred and discrimination based on one’s race, religion, origin and ethnicity, which has resulted in blatant human rights violation of affected communities. Unfortunately, these acts of intolerance are not only prevalent in developing societies facing conflicts but are equally affecting the developed world, where the politics of far-right is breeding the seeds of discord and promoting xenophobia on the pleas of cultural differences and demonizing of migrants, refugees and other minorities. Truly such a culture of hate and intolerance is not conducive for creation of peaceful societies and continues to constitute a threat to global peace and security.
IPHRC also reminded the international community that hate speech, including Islamophobia must be countered to ensure peaceful coexistence in all societies. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (Comment No5) stipulated that “the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority or hatred is compatible with freedom of opinion and expression and is equally applicable to the question of incitement to religious hatred”. To this end, the Commission urged the need to implement the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 that conveys global resolve to combat all forms of discrimination, hatred and violence based on one’s religion or belief to avoid clash among cultures.
IPHRC welcomes the adoption of Resolution No. 72/157 by the UN General Assembly on 19 December 2017 and Sustainable Development Goals 2030 which recognizes respect for cultural diversity as an integral element for ensuring sustainable development of nations and cultures through promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, tolerance, mutual respect, inter-cultural understanding and global citizenship and shared responsibility.
The Commission calls upon all stakeholders and the international community to develop and implement strategies and best-practices to reduce racial injustices and dismantle racism and ethnic oppression worldwide. It urges the Member States to encourage production, safeguarding and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks to promote harmony between different cultural groups. Also, it underscores the need to involve all sectors of civil society including religious leaders, minorities, ethnic groups and media in framing of public policies aimed at safeguarding and promoting cultural diversity as a unifying force for creation of resilient societies.