UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution proposed by Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), criticizing Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya and calling for greater respect for human rights in Myanmar

UNHumanRightsA resolution proposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Myanmar titled ” Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar” (A/HRC/29/L.30) was adopted by consensus at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3rd July 2015.

The resolution, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, makes a number of points:

Condemnation of Myanmar’s human rights abuses

  • Condemnation of the systematic human rights violations and abuses committed in Rakhine State, in particular against Rohingya Muslims.
  • Called on the Myanmar Government to take the measures to address the spread of discrimination and prejudice against Muslims and members of national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, and to end the incitement of hatred against Muslims by publicly condemning such acts.
  • Called on the Myanmar Government to prevent the discrimination and exploitation, including through trafficking, of Rohingya Muslims and others.
  • Urged the Myanmar Government to protect places of worship belonging to all religions.

Calls for an Investigation into human rights abuses

  • The resolution called on Myanmar to end impunity for human rights violations including against Muslims, by taking all necessary measures to ensure accountability. This included the call for a full, transparent and independent investigation into reports of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Return of refugees and citizenship

  • The resolution called on the Myanmar Government, in conjunction with the international community and in accordance with international law, to ensure the return of all refugees and persons displaced from their homes, including Muslims.
  • It urged the Myanmar Government to grant full citizenship rights to Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, in keeping within a transparent due process, by reviewing the 1982 Citizenship Law.

Humanitarian assistance

  • The resolution calls upon the Myanmar Government to ensure full cooperation with all parties to allow full access to humanitarian assistance for affected persons and communities.
  • In this regards it urged the Government to implement various cooperation agreements between Myanmar and the international community for the distribution of humanitarian aid to all affected areas, including Rakhine State, without any discrimination.

OIC Secretary -General Iyad Ameen Madani said: “The plight of the Rohingyas is a tragedy that requires international cooperation. The OIC urges the Myanmar government to address the humanitarian situation in Rakhine State and enable access for Humanitarian aid for the affected people. Myanmar should maintain its obligation to protect human life and dignity should it wish to reverse its fast deteriorating reputation and standing amongst the international community and the 57 countries of the OIC.”

“This resolution is an important step in the right direction and demonstrates the strong support of the international community, particularly the member states of the Human Rights Council, to the content of this important resolution.”


Background  on Myanmar’s Rohingya community:

  • Rohingya Muslims mainly live in Myanmar – predominantly in the Rakhine state – where they not given citizens and have faced persecution for decades.
  • The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group in Myanmar who number approximately 1.3 million according to the Immigration Ministry.
  • The Rohingyas claim Rakhine is their centuries-old Ancestral homeland, but the Myanmar government does not recognise them as an indigenous group – often referring to them as ‘foreigners’ or ‘Bangladeshis’.
  • According to UN estimates, more than 120,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the country in the past three years.
  • Rohingyas face heavy land ownership restrictions
  • In 2013, the OIC sent a delegation to Rakhine and pledged a series of measures to boost humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas.

Background notes on the OIC

  • The OIC was founded in 1969 and is the second largest inter-governmental organisation in the world with 57 sovereign member states from across the Islamic world.
  • The organisation is “the collective voice of the Muslim world and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony”.
  • The OIC has actively represented causes of importance to the worlds 1.5 billion Muslims.
  • The OIC is composed three organs:

–          Islamic Summit – the supreme authority of the Organization composed of Kings and Heads of State and which convenes every three years,

–          The Council of Foreign Ministers which meets annually for the implementation of general policy

–          General Secretariat, the OIC’s executive organ, entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies

  • Bodies that form part of the OIC include:

–          The Islamic Development Bank (IDB), set up by OIC Finance Ministers in 1973. IDB tripled its authorized capital to $150 billion to better serve Muslims in member and non-member countries in 2013.

–          Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) established by the OIC in 1979.

  • On 27 June 2007, the-United States President George W. Bush established an official US envoy to the OIC to “listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states, and will share with them America’s views and values.”
  • The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.
  • Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani is the 10th Secretary General who assumed the office in January 2014. His appointment was officially announced after the 12th Summit of the OIC in Cairo on 8 February 2013 and his term was effective from January 2014. He is former the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s former Information Minister and former editor-in-chief of Saudi Gazette.
  • 1994, the OIC Code of Conduct committed member states to take firm measures to individually and collectively counter violent extremism.
  • In 1999, the OIC adopted the Convention on Combatting International Terrorism