Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Chief Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen urged on Thursday the group's member states to formulate cultural policies that will promote pluralism and harmony among different communities.
Othaimeen made the call in statement address relayed by Ambassador Samir Bakr Diab during the OIC's Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission IPHRC’s 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 21st November 2017.
Othaimeen added that cultural policies should encourage values and attitudes to embrace cultural diversity as a unifying force for 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 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 four continents with different cultures and social customs, is committed towards protecting cultural diversity and promoting dialogue and development within the OIC and beyond.
Also speaking during the session, IPHRC Chairperson Mr. 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 basic 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 Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) was scheduled to discuss 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.