Organisation of Islamic Cooperation  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.6 billion as of 2008. The organisation states that it is "the collective voice of the Muslim world" and works to "safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony".

The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union. The official languages of the OIC are Arabic, English, and French.

Contents

Human rights

OIC created the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. While proponents claim it is not an alternative to the UDHR, but rather complementary to it, Article 24 states that "all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah" and Article 25 follows with "the Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration." Attempts to have it adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council have met increasing criticism, because of its contradiction of the UDHR, including from liberal Muslim groups. Critics of the CDHR state bluntly that it is "manipulation and hypocrisy," "designed to dilute, if not altogether eliminate, civil and political rights protected by international law" and attempts to "circumvent these principles [of freedom and equality]."

Human Rights Watch says that OIC has "fought doggedly" and successfully within the United Nations Human Rights Council to shield states from criticism, except when it comes to criticism of Israel. For example, when independent experts reported violations of human rights in the 2006 Lebanon War, "state after state from the OIC took the floor to denounce the experts for daring to look beyond Israeli violations to discuss Hezbollah's as well." OIC demands that the council "should work cooperatively with abusive governments rather than condemn them." HRW responds that this works with those who are willing to cooperate; others exploit the passivity.

The OIC has been criticised for failing to discuss the treatment of ethnic minorities within member countries, such as the oppression of the Kurds in Syria and Turkey, the Ahwaz in Iran, the Hazaras in Afghanistan, the 'Al-Akhdam' in Yemen, or the Berbers in Algeria.

Along with the revisions of the OIC's charter in 2008, the member states created the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC). The IPHRC is an advisory body, independent from the OIC, composed of eighteen individuals from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The IPHRC has the power to monitor human rights within the member states and facilitates the integration of human rights into all OIC mandates. The IPHRC also aids in the promotion of political, civil, and economic rights in all member states.

In September 2017, the Independent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the OIC strongly condemned the human rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

LGBT rights

In March 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council held its first discussion of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, following the 2011 passage of a resolution supporting LGBT rights proposed by the Republic of South Africa. Pakistan's representative addressed the session on behalf of the OIC, denouncing the discussion and questioning the concept of sexual orientation, which he said was being used to promote "licentious behaviour ... against the fundamental teachings of various religions, including Islam". He stated that the council should not discuss the topic again. Most Arab countries and some African ones later walked out of the session.

Nonetheless, OIC members Albania, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone have signed a UN Declaration supporting LGBT rights in the General Assembly. Whilst Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey had legalized homosexuality.

In May 2016, 57 countries including Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation requested the removal of LGBT associations from 2016 High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, sparking protests by the United States, Canada, the European Union and LGBT communities.

Structure

Structure and Organization

The OIC system consists of:

The Islamic Summit Conference
The highest policy-making organ, attended by the Kings and the Heads of State and Government of the member states, convened every three years.

The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers
It meets once a year to examine a progress report on the implementation of its decisions taken within the framework of the policy defined by the Islamic Summit.

The Permanent Secretariat
It is the executive organ of the Organization, entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies, and is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Current secretary is Abdelouahed Belkeziz, from Morocco, in office since January 1, 2001. His term ends on December 31 2004; he will be replaced by Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, from Turkey, fromJanuary 1, 2005.

Standing Committees

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