OIC Declaration on Human Rights: Changing the name or a paradigm change? 


Since the adoption of the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) in 1990, there was an ongoing debate between Western and Muslim states regarding the compatibility of its provisions with human rights standards. The cultural divide reached its zenith when the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC, since 2008, Organization of Islamic Cooperation) sponsored a series of resolutions on the prohibition of defamation of religions in Human Rights Council. However, there appeared to be a paradigm shift in the OIC human rights discourse when it adopted a ten-year program of action in 2005. Accordingly, the statute of organization was amended in 2008 and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms were incorporated into its objectives. The OIC, consequently, compromised with Western states on the notion of defamation of religions in the Human Rights Council.

Moreover, the establishment of Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) in 2011 paved the way for the revision of the CDHRI which materialized as the OIC Declaration on Human Rights (ODHR) in 2020. This article shall review the background and the internal and external factors of paradigm shift in OIC human rights politics with a descriptive and analytical method. It will also examine the content of the ODHR and its implications for the OIC human rights agenda. The paper finally concludes that the paradigm change may seemingly bring OIC human rights rhetoric in alignment with UN human rights language, but it is less likely to improve human rights situation in member states.

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