JEDDAH, 24th November, 2015 (WAM) — The 8th regular session of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, IPHRC, held at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah on Monday, witnessed intense deliberations on its pivotal theme, “Freedom of Expression Versus Hate Speech”.

The meeting started with a statement from the Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan, Chairwoman of IPHRC’s current session, Mrs. Ilham Ibrahim Mohamed Ahmed, in which she affirmed that the commission strives to ensure that its deliberations on the issue of freedom of speech and hate speech are objective. She said that “Although freedom of speech is a contributor to sustained progress, yet we have to be cognisant of the boundaries of such freedom under international law.”

Ambassador Ilham underscored the need to distinguish between freedom of speech and hate speech, noting that “Hatred and Islamophobia have reached such an alarming level and that non-observance of the authentic teachings of the Holy Quran could lead to major pitfalls.”

The OIC Secretary-General, Iyad Ameen Madani, proposed that UN Resolutions No.16/18 which lay stress on the concept that freedom of speech correlates with a necessary sense of responsibility, be adopted as the key reference in discussing the subject of “freedom of speech versus hate speech”, with the OIC currently pushing for a “reformulation of the proposition aimed at ensuring that our own advocacy is mindful of the others’ beliefs.”

Also, the Secretary-General of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, Dr. Abdussalam Al Abadi, delivered a statement in which he noted that “Human society is founded on the concept of inhabiting the earth in accordance with God’s established prescriptions and that Islam affirms Man’s stewardship on earth and seeks to achieve justice among humans.” He further added that Islam has regulated relations between Muslims as individuals or communities as well between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The proceedings of the IPHRC’s 8th session started on 21st November, 2015 and are scheduled to continue till the 26th of the current month. The IPHRC’s present session is to undertake an in-depth discussion of all its agenda items including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the OIC Member States and the violations perpetrated against human rights in Palestine and Jamu and Kashmir.