OIC’s human rights body urges Dutch govt to ban anti-Islamic caricatures competition

A Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest is being organized later this year by anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, seen here at a rally in London
Updated 28 August 2018

OIC’s human rights body urges Dutch govt to ban anti-Islamic caricatures competition

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (OIC-IPHRC) unreservedly condemned the malicious plan of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders to hold an international competition on the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad later this year.
The body called on the Dutch Government to take immediate steps to prevent “this sacrilegious transgression,” saying it not enough to distance yourself, but it is the duty of every state to prohibit, by law, “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence”. 
Earlier, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte distanced his government from a the contest, noting that Wilders “is not a member of the government. The competition is not a government initiative.”
Rutte’s comments came after angry reactions in Pakistan to the proposed contest, which Wilders plans to hold in November in his Party for Freedom’s heavily guarded offices at the Dutch parliament.
Opposition lawmaker Wilders is well known for his fierce criticism of Islam and has previously sparked fury in Muslim nations with a film about Islam.
“The event, if permitted to take place, has the potential to inflame and promote a culture of intolerance and incitement to hatred. Such acts also result in a wider sense of alienation, rejection, and polarization among affected communities leading to discrimination and violence, an antithesis to the coveted ideals of multiculturalism and pluralism,” the OIC-IPHRC said in a statement.
The Commission regards freedom of expression as a key human right, which is vital for development of stable, peaceful and progressive democratic societies.
However, the scope of freedom of expression, as provided in Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, more importantly, Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), clearly stipulate that exercising of freedom of expression carries with it “special duties and responsibilities” to ensure societal cohesion, as well as “respect of the rights and reputations of others.” 
The Dutch Government must, therefore, take immediate steps to prevent this event to protect the religious and cultural sensitivities of its own and the wider international Muslim population as well as to preserve the societal harmony and ideals of tolerance and multiculturalism that are the hallmark of Dutch society.
While squarely condemning these coordinated and often repeated acts of incitement to religious hatred/discrimination, the Commission urges Muslims around the world to continue to exercise restraint in their reaction to such malicious provocations, which are squarely intended to incite racial and religious hatred, discrimination and violence under the garb of freedom of expression.
OIC-IPHRC emphasizes that growing xenophobia, intolerance and hatred in Europe, in particular, and the world, at large, could only be countered through the promotion of tolerance, respect for cultural and religious diversity and enhanced interfaith and intercultural dialogue at all levels. 
IPHRC also endorses the OIC Secretary General’s statement that “it is time to put in place internationally binding legal instruments to prevent incitement, racism, discrimination and religious hatred”.
To that end, the Commission reiterates the critical need to fully and effectively implement the universally agreed UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which provides a comprehensive framework to combat religious intolerance through a multipronged action plan. 
Physical depictions of God or the Prophet Muhammad, even respectful ones, are considered blasphemous in Islamic tradition.


Mexico grants asylum to Bolivian leader Morales

Updated 12 November 2019

Mexico grants asylum to Bolivian leader Morales

  • Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard: Several minutes ago I received a phone call from (former) president Evo Morales to verbally and formally request political asylum in our country
  • Mexico had said it was prepared to grant Morales asylum, after Bolivia’s first indigenous president stepped down amid massive protests

MEXICO CITY: Mexico said Monday it has granted asylum to Bolivia’s Evo Morales, after the leftist president’s departure left the South American nation reeling amid a power vacuum.
“Several minutes ago I received a phone call from (former) president Evo Morales to verbally and formally request political asylum in our country,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told a news conference.
“Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero made the decision to grant him asylum... for humanitarian reasons.”
Morales will have asylum with immediate effect for his own protection, Ebrard added, but did not answer journalists’ questions on whether he would travel to Mexico, and if so when he would arrive.
Mexico had said Sunday it was prepared to grant Morales asylum, after Bolivia’s first indigenous president stepped down amid massive protests and growing unrest over his fraud-stained re-election on October 20.
Morales, 60, had been in power since 2006.