OIC Human Rights Commission to launch with female chair

February 21, 2012, Tuesday/ 18:24:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A human rights watchdog body operating under the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has elected one of its four female members to chair their first meeting.

The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights commission (IPHRC) members elected an Indonesian member, Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, professor of sociology at the State Islamic University of Yogyakarta and head of the center for women’s rights in Indonesia, to chair the first meeting of the organization.

For the first time in its history the OIC has created a permanent body of experts, the IPHRC, which will be one of its principal agencies. The IPHRC was formally established following the adoption of a resolution at the 38th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Kazakhstan in June 2011, which immediately entered into force. The first session of the IPHRC is taking place in Jakarta, from Feb. 20 to 24. There are only four female members in the commission, who are from Malaysia, Sudan, Afghanistan and Indonesia.

Commenting on the election of Dzuhayatin, OIC spokesperson Rizwan Shaikh said: “This sends out a positive signal regarding the independent approach taken by the commission from the very outset. It is indeed reflective of a new OIC, propelled by a vision of moderation and modernization.” The commission, as part of its agenda for the session, proceeded to discuss the draft rules of procedure, including the commission’s principles, membership and administration. Once the rules of procedure have been agreed the commission will elect the chair of the session as provided for in the OIC resolution.

The rights of women and children in OIC member states are at the top of the commission’s agenda.

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