OIC rights body: Hate speech must be countered to ensure peaceful coexistence

Representatives of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) visiting a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh on January 8, 2018 . (Courtesy: OIC website)
Updated 22 March 2018
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OIC rights body: Hate speech must be countered to ensure peaceful coexistence

JEDDAH: The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) affirmed its commitment to addressing ethnic oppression on Wednesday as it observed the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

The IPHRC said that it joined the international community in observing the day and its theme, “Promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination.”

The commission said that Islam laid the foundation of a culture steeped in the principles of equality among all people regardless of caste, color, creed or religious beliefs.

The growing signs of intolerance and failure to accept diversity in the form of xenophobia, hatred and discrimination based on race, religion, origin and ethnicity had resulted in blatant human rights violations of affected communities, it said.

"Unfortunately, these acts of intolerance are not only prevalent in developing societies facing conflicts but are equally affecting the developed world, where the politics of the far-right is breeding the seeds of discord and promoting xenophobia and demonizing of migrants, refugees and other minorities," it said. "Such a culture of hate and intolerance is not conducive for the creation of peaceful societies and continues to constitute a threat to global peace and security."

The IPHRC also reminded the international community that hate speech, including Islamophobia, must be countered to ensure peaceful coexistence in all societies.

To this end, the commission urged the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which conveys an international resolve to combat all forms of discrimination, hatred and violence based on religion or belief to avoid a clash among cultures.

"The IPHRC welcomes the adoption of Resolution No. 72/157 by the UN General Assembly on Dec. 19, 2017 and Sustainable Development Goals 2030, which recognizes respect for cultural diversity as an integral element for ensuring the sustainable development of nations and cultures through the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, tolerance, mutual respect, inter-cultural understanding and global citizenship and shared responsibility," it said.


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 48 min 44 sec ago
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.