OIC chief calls for ‘decade of action’

ASTANA, Kazakhstan: The secretary-general of the renamed Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called for a decade of action on political reforms and peaceful resolutions for Palestine, Libya and Syria.“The Muslim world is confronted with some serious developments with direct impact on its stability, unity, prosperity and development. Unfortunately, the Ummah — in certain parts — still lacks the necessary internal cohesion, strength, solidarity and capacity that are required in order to overcome these daunting challenges,” said OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. “The Muslim world is going through a defining moment in its history, which further affirms the dire need to speed up the process of concretizing the peoples’ aspiration to good governance, the rule of law, human rights, broader political participation and dedicated national dialogue.”He said the OIC Charter and the 10-Year Program of Action are guided by the principles of moderation and modernization. “Both documents are based on a perceptive vision that carries in its folds appropriate solutions for such unrest as we are witnessing today in the Muslim world. This is an opportune occasion for me to renew my appeal to all our member states to kindly see to the implementation of the 10-Year Program of Action — particularly in the domain of good governance and rule of law.”Ihsanoglu called for member states to recognize the Palestinian state and said Israel’s continued violations of international law had brought the peace process to a stalemate.“It is our duty and firm position, therefore, to support the Palestinian decision to resort to the United Nations and have its say in the solution of this protracted conflict,” Ihsanoglu told delegates. “As I speak here, 116 countries so far have recognized the State of Palestine including 55 from OIC member states. We urge countries including OIC member states and observers to recognize Palestine on the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Ihsanoglu said he had dispatched a delegation to Tripoli to broker a peaceful resolution to the Libyan conflict and seek unhindered access for humanitarian aid.“In Libya, we call for a political solution based on the recognition of the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy, justice, rule of law and political reforms,” he said.At a press conference later,  he said that it was not for the OIC to recognize the opposition Transitional National Council and said member states would make their own decisions. “OIC is an organization, and organizations do not interfere in matters of a country’s sovereignty.”Ihsanoglu welcomed the democratic changes in Tunisia and Egypt as a result of an internal popular revolution in these countries. “During my recent visits to these two countries I expressed the hope that these changes would strengthen good governance, rule of law, democracy and economic development in them.”

On Syria, he said the OIC was following with deep concern the violent events there. “We have called for national dialogue and a speedy implementation for the reforms declared by the Syrian leadership in order to stop violence targeting both civilians and security forces,” the secretary-general said.In what is seen as a major development, Ihsanoglu announced the establishment of an Independent Permanent Commission on Human Rights (IPCHR). “We have been acting swiftly, through an open and credible process, in taking concrete steps toward establishing the IPCHR. The adoption of the commissions statute followed by election of experts that would form the commission must be seen as a landmark exercise that would make the Astana conference stand out in the history of the OIC,” the secretary-general said.The situation in Kashmir, Turkish Cypriot State, Kosovo, occupied Azerbaijani territories including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and Bosnia Herzegovina continue to be a matter of concern for the OIC, he added. – Arabnews