OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Opens In Warsaw Today

By • on September 24, 2012

Photograph of an OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Taken By ICLA In 2009

The International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA) will be represented at various points at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation meeting that opens in Warsaw today.  We are at a crucial juncture when fate of human rights as traditionally understood hangs in the balance.

The continuing efforts of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to undermine freedom of expression are the main threat to human rights in the world today.  Since it is freedom of expression that guarantees the right to freedom of religion and not the other way around religious freedom is also in grave danger.

The OIC’s Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) makes it clear that as far as the OIC is concerned all human rights are subject to sharia.  Any and all proposals by the OIC have to be considered in reference to that Declaration.  As such the apparent noble intent of United Nationals Resolution 16/18 that was promoted by the OIC is rendered meaningless.  We must remember that in 2003 the European Court of Human Rights stated that sharia was incompatible with the principles of democracy.  We take note that speakers at the opening session of the meeting today in Warsaw stated:

“Governments have to respect universal values of democracy and human rights in practice for there to be any stable system of security” (quoted from the OSCE website at the above link)

and, again from the above link:

““Not every country in the Euro-Atlantic region shares the universal values of political pluralism, free market, the rule of law, media freedom and respect for human rights,” Adam Rotfeld, the former Foreign Minister of Poland, said in his keynote address. “Even if accepted in a declaratory way, they are rejected in political practice.””

ICLA fully endorses these sentiments.  In fact these sentiments are at the heart of the 2012 Brussels Declaration To Safeguard Individual Liberties and Human Rights that was made at our conference in the European Parliament in July of this year.  This Declaration was a response to the OIC’s blatant attack on human rights as represented by the Cairo Declaration mentioned above and the more recent Istanbul Process.  We therefore hope that OSCE member states will endorse the 2012 Brussels Declaration To Safeguard Individual Liberties and Human Rights and the associated Brussels Process. The Brussels Process is a tool to encourage community cohesion, social justice, and respect for the rule of law, and represents a desire:

  1. To educate and inform the public so that laws that promote freedom are implemented and laws that hinder it are repealed.
  2. To emphasise the point that sharia compliance is against human rights and should not be embraced when human rights are being discussed.
  3. To encourage individuals, organisations, and institutions within the field of human rights —to consider rulings— such as that made by the European Court of Human Rights in 2003 that “sharia is incompatible with democracy”.
  4. To create a framework for politicians, academics, writers, journalists, NGOs, public bodies, and international organisations – to come together and stand up to protect liberty, democracy, and human rights.

Historically the OSCE has played a role in historic events such as the ending of the Cold War.  We hope it continues to play a positive role in helping to solve the problems of our own day.  ICLA will play its role by engaging with the OSCE and doing what it can to protect freedom, democracy and human rights in the OSCE area.

The current OSCE event in Warsaw runs from  24 September to 5 October.  You can read more about the OSCE on its website, a document from the website that outlines what the OSCE is can be found HERE.  We will publish more information outlining our work in relation to the OSCE conference in due course.