publication . Other literature type . Preprint . 2017

Equality and Nondiscrimination Through the Eyes of an International Religious Organization: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Response to Women’s Rights

Robert Blitt;
Open Access
  • Published: 11 Aug 2017
  • Publisher: LawArXiv
<p>This article is the first of a two part series that draws on women‘s rights and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to explore how the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) represents, interprets and seeks to impact the right to equality and protection against discrimination as enshrined under international human rights law. The study is a novel one inasmuch as the OIC is neither a state nor a religious group per se. Rather, the OIC stands out as the only contemporary intergovernmental organization unifying its member states around the commonality of a single religion. In this capacity, the organization maintains no direct obligations or rights ...
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Preprint . 2017
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Other literature type . 2017
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104 references, page 1 of 7

1. OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women (OPAAW) ..................................................................... 796 2. OIC Organization of Women Development (WDO) ...... 798 3. IPHRC on Women's Equalit..y....................................... 800 4. Different ―Roles and Responsibilities‖: A Frontal Challenge to Women's Equality................................... 803 5. Shari'ah and Women's Equalit.y.................................... 806 B. Protection of Family Values: Nexus for Discrimination Against Women, on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and Against Others ..................................809 1. Sexual and Reproductive Health..................................... 811 2. Protecting an ―Ideal Family‖ Demands Religious Conformity, Not Recognition of Family Diversity....... 813 IV. Conclusion ...................................................................................... 819


2 Abdel Monem Al-Mashat, The Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Post Cold War Era, in THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE IN A CHANGING WORLD 147, 150 (Mohammad El Sayed Selim ed., 1994). Ioana Cismas describes the OIC as ―the sole in-ter governmental actor to display religious contours and to claim the role of interpreter of human rights in the context of Islam‖ and an organization where ―the role of religion is intertwined with political goals.‖IOANA CISMAS, RELIGIOUS ACTORS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW 239, 241 (2014).

3 The OIC has maintained observer status at the UN since 1975. The UN General Assembly also regularly adopts by consensus resolutions on ―Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.‖See G.A. Res. 3369 (Oct. 10, 1975); see also G.A. Res. 67/264 (May 15, 2013).

9 Refaqat Syed, Organisation of the Islamic Conference: Dream and Reality, in OIC: CONTEMPORARY ISSUES OF THE MUSLIM WORLD, supra note 5 at 221.

10 Ten-year programme of action to meet the challenges facing the Muslim Ummah in the 21st century, Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference (2005); perhaps the biggest paradox here is that while the OIC invokes the foundational Islamic principle of ummah-a ―brotherhood more vital than that of blood‖ or a bond to transcend all other bondsits Charter is premised on the modern nation state and holds as sacrosanct the secular legal principle of state sovereignty; See Katja L.H. Samuel, THE OIC, THE UN, AND COUNTERTERRORISM LAW-MAKING: CONFLICTING OR COOPERATIVE LEGAL ORDERS? 30 (2013) (citing John A. Williams, THEMES OF ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION (1971)); see also Ahsan, supra note 7, at 65; see also Alpaslan Özerdem, The Contribution of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the Peace Process in Mindanao, in EXTERNAL INTERVENTIONS IN CIVIL WARS: THE ROLE AND IMPACT OF REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS 97, 98 (Stefan Wolff and Oya Dursun-Özkanca eds., 2014) (arguing that upholding the premise of nation states represents a serious disruption in the connection between individual Muslims and the ummah, which is intended to be a single collectivity that rejects nation state sovereignty).

11 See 2008 OIC Charter, supra note 6.

12 Melinda Negrón-Gonzales, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT: THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN SYRIA 90, 90-91 (Daniel Silander and Don Wallace eds., 2015) (describing Ihsanoglu as ―reformist‖ an-d in his own words-as promoting ―modernization and moderation‖). This shift may have been sh-olritved given that, since January 2014, the OIC Secretariat is led by a Saudi secretary general.

13 Katja Samuel, Universality, the UN and the Organization of the Islamic Conference: Single, Complementary or Competing Universal Legal Orders?, in INTERNATIONAL LAW IN A MULTIPOLAR WORLD 263, 275 (Matthew Happold ed., 2012).

14 Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], Final Communique of the Annual Coordination Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OIC Member States, ¶ 122 (Sept. 27, 2013) (―The Meeting urged Member States to implement Resolution No. 41-P/3O7L on coordination and voting patterns of Member States at the United Nations and other international and multilateral fora.‖); more recently, the OIC has ―insisted that failure to vote for -b[OacIkCed resolutions at the UN] and announcement of positions different from those agreed on is contrary to the unanimity imposed by the duty of Islamic solidarity among Member States.‖ OIC Doc. OIC/13TH SUMMIT 2016/FC/FINAL, ¶ 199 (Apr. 14-15, 2016).

15 To date, this framework includes a Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam, and plans for an Islamic Charter on Human Rights, a Covenant on the Rights of the Women in Islam, an Islamic Covenant against Racial Discrimination, as well as an International Islamic Court of Justice intended to function as a principal OIC organ. At the time of writing, each of these is at a different stage of development, though none have reached the point of entering into force. Robert C. Blitt, The Bottom Up Journey of “Defamation of Religion” from Muslim States to the United Nations: A Case Study of the Migration of Anti-Constitutional Ideas, in STUDIES IN LAW, POLITICS, AND SOCIETY 121, 172-173 (2011).

16 G.A. Res. 217 (III) A, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Dec. 10, 1948), at art. 1 [hereinafter UDHR].

24 According to former OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu, the 1972 OIC Charter ―did not get more than 23 signatures over its 40 years of existence.‖ Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Address of OIC Secretary General to the Senior Officials Preparatory Meeting for the 37th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (Apr. 12-14, 2010) OIC Doc. OIC/SOM/37- CFM/2010/SG.SP, 11. In contrast, the 2008 OIC Charter secured 39 signatures and 14 ratifications within two years. 2008 OIC Charter, supra note 6.

25 The document emerged from an internal drafting process that can be traced back to at least 1984. See Final Communique, Fifteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Dec. 18-22, 1984, ¶ E (―The Conference decided to entrust the General Secretariat with the task of‖ requesting member states to designate their respective experts for a meeting of a legal committee to examine anew the draft declaration of human rights in Islam in terms of content); see also Sixteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Jan. 6-10, 1986, Resolution No. 2/16-ORG Human Rights In Islam.

26 Third Islamic Summit Conference, Mecca Declaration, Jan. 25-28, 1981.

104 references, page 1 of 7
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