Jeddah – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) stressed on Tuesday the importance of ensuring that the member states’ counter-terrorism strategies are in line with International Humanitarian Law, noting that defeating terrorists first requires winning the battle for hearts and minds.
The 11th Session of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) was held on Tuesday at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Under the theme of “Protecting Human Rights while countering terrorism,” participants discussed the importance of analyzing the current situation in matters related to counter-terrorism measures exercised by member states and other countries. The stressed the need to respect human rights and principles in order to exchange best practices and suggest means of moving forward on the path to ensuring the protection of these rights in the fight against terrorism.
They underlined the need to boost institutional ties between the permanent independent commission on human rights and other human rights bodies dealing with counter-terrorism in order to share experiences, best practices, policies and capacity-building programs.
On this note, Secretary General of OIC Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen called on member states to ensure that their counter-terrorism strategies are compliant with International Humanitarian Law and refugee and humanitarian laws.
“The counter-terrorism measures, illegal and arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings, racial and ethnic profiling and illegal settlements have all become serious challenges to human rights and the rule of law,” said Othaimeen in his inaugural speech.
“Such measures foster an atmosphere of mistrust, resentment and marginalization in a manner that diminishes states’ long- term security. Such counter- terrorism measures also disproportionately impact certain populations, including ethnic or religious minorities and migrants, which undermines social cohesion and intensifies radicalization and violence,” he added.
The OIC Secretary General stressed that terrorism not only poses a serious threat to peoples’ enjoyment of the right to life and liberty, but also portends a perpetual danger to the existence of human civilization, progress, welfare and global stability.
He noted that to defeat the terrorists, “it is crucial to first win the battle for hearts and minds, as countering terrorism merely through security and punitive legal and administrative measures benefits the terrorists by shaking the trust and support of the people, which is vital in the fight against the terrorism.”
Othaimeen also asserted: “The OIC is aware of the threats to and infringements of basic human rights in counter-terrorism policies and practices. It firmly rejects the identification of terrorism with any nationality or religion and has always highlighted the necessity of addressing the conditions that foster terrorism by promoting human rights, tolerance and multiculturalism and tackling negative socio-economic factors.”
He commended the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission on its “great job in promoting human rights within OIC.”
OIC member and observer states, including their national human rights institutions, experts from different relevant international and regional organizations and senior officials of the OIC General Secretariat and media representatives, attended the 11th Session of the IPHRC.
During the session, the Commission held detailed discussions on all issues on its agenda, including the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in OIC member states and the human rights violations in Palestine and India’s Jammu and Kashmir.
The commission also held the regular meetings of its four Working Groups on Palestine, Rights of Women and Child, Islamophobia and Muslim minorities, and the Right to Development.