OIC secretary general calls OIC member states to formulate cultural policies

Jeddah (OIC-UNA) - Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen has called on OIC member states to formulate cultural policies that will promote pluralism and harmony between different cultural groups within nations and among nations.

The secretary general made the call in a statement, delivered on his behalf by Ambassador Samir Bakr Diab, assistant secretary general for Palestinian Affairs during the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission's (IPHRC) Thematic Debate on Importance of Cultural Diversity in the promotion and protection of Human Rights as part of the 12th Regular Session of IPHRC held in Jeddah, on Wednesday.

Al-Othaimeen added that the cultural policies should encourage values and attitudes to embrace cultural diversity as a unifying force for the creation of resilient societies.

Towards this goal, the first and foremost action required is to make human rights education an integral part of the formal curriculum with an aim to educate our younger generation about the ethos of 'global citizenship,' said Al-Othaimeen.

Secondly, while devising long-term national action plans, the benefits of harnessing the cultural diversity as an engine of social and economic transformation for sustainable development must be incorporated as a viable choice, he added.

He, therefore, stressed that the OIC, which embraces 57 Muslim nations from three continents with different cultures and social customs, is committed to protecting cultural diversity and promoting dialogue and development within the OIC and beyond.

Also speaking during the session, the IPHRC Chairperson, Med. S. K. Kaggwa noted that, while utmost respect for cultural diversity is emphasized, it must not become an excuse to perpetuate the harmful cultural practices, which run against the fundamental human rights and even the domestic laws of OIC member countries.

He, however, added that the process to change the harmful practices must be carried out by proponents within the respective societies or communities rather than imposed from outside.

The 12th Session of the OIC-IPHRC is discussing several items on its agenda including Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories; Civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in OIC member states; combating Islamophobia and incitement to hatred and violence; Human rights situation of Muslim minorities and communities in non- member states including Myanmar, Central African Republic, Europe and USA; and Standing Mechanism for monitoring the human rights situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

Source: International Islamic News Agency