JEDDAH: Universal Islamic principles should be used as the basis for tackling world human rights issues in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a leading inter-governmental Muslim organization has recommended.
During a meeting to coincide with the 10th anniversary of world Islamic Human Rights and Human Dignity Day, members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) called upon member states to adopt the approach in joint efforts to address post-pandemic global challenges.
Commission delegates pointed out that millions of people in countries around the world continued to face indignities including foreign occupation and oppression, hunger, preventable diseases, limited socioeconomic opportunities, and lack of access to basic needs, all of which seriously undermined their fundamental human rights.
The IPHRC gathering noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had only compounded the existing global human rights situation such as by doubling the number of people facing food crises, and children losing access to basic education and health services.
Members highlighted a growing incidence of cases of hate speech, xenophobia, and racial and religious discrimination, issues they said were driving a wedge through multicultural societies and threatening global peace and security.
While stressing that the conceptual foundation of human rights in Islam placed a strong emphasis on the inherent dignity of human beings and their equality before the law, in harmony with universal human rights principles, the commission urged member countries to work alongside regional and international stakeholders to devise practical human rights-based, people-centered policies to help improve lives.
It also made an appeal for the international community to reinforce respect for diversity, multiculturalism, democracy, and the rule of law, which were at the core of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
IPHRC members recommended that all states should cooperate with their political, religious, and community leaders to promote a better understanding of universal human rights values, collectively deal with the underlying causes of racism and religious intolerance, including islamophobia, and ensure the maintenance of international peace and security.
Welcoming the continued and growing importance placed on human rights issues within the OIC, the commission hailed the adoption of a revised version of the organization’s Cairo Declaration on Human Rights, which it said had helped to bridge the perceptional and legal gaps between the compatibility of universal human rights and Islamic laws.
An ongoing revision of the OIC Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam was also applauded as a route to further strengthening the organization’s normative and institutional human rights architecture.