Established in 1969, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an intergovernmental organization the purpose of which is the strengthening of solidarity among Muslims. Headquartered in Jeddah, the OIC today consists of fifty seven states from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The OIC's longevity and geographic reach, combined with its self-proclaimed role as the United Nations of the Muslim world, raise certain expectations as to its role in global human rights politics. However, to date, these hopes have been unfulfilled. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Human Rights sets out to demonstrate the potential and shortcomings of the OIC and the obstacles on the paths it has navigated.
Historically, the OIC has had a complicated relationship with the international human rights regime. Palestinian self-determination was an important catalyst for the founding of the OIC, but the OIC did not develop a comprehensive human rights approach in its first decades. In fact, human rights issues were rarely, if at all, mentioned at the organization's summits or annual conferences of foreign ministers. Instead, the OIC tended to focus on protecting Islamic holy sites and strengthening economic cooperation among member states. As other international and regional organizations expanded the international human rights system in the 1990s, the OIC began to pay greater attention to human rights, although not always in a manner that aligned with Western conceptions.
This volume provides essential empirical and theoretical insights into OIC practices, contemporary challenges to human rights, intergovernmental organizations, and global Islam. Essays by some of the world's leading scholars examine the OIC's human rights activities at different levels—in the UN, the organization's own institutions, and at the member-state level—and assess different aspects of the OIC's approach, identifying priority areas of involvement and underlying conceptions of human rights.
Contributors: Hirah Azhar, Mashood A. Baderin, Anthony Tirado Chase, Ioana Cismas, Moataz El Fegiery, Turan Kayaoglu, Martin Lestra, Ann Elizabeth Mayer, Mahmood Monshipouri, Marie Juul Petersen, Zeynep Şahin-Mencütek, Heiní Skorini, M. Evren Tok.
—Marie Juul Petersen and Turan Kayaoglu
PART I. FOUNDATIONS
Chapter 1. Setting the Scene
—Anthony Tirado Chase
Chapter 2. The Human Rights Agenda of the OIC: Between Pessimism and Optimism
—Mashood A. Baderin
Chapter 3. The OIC's Human Rights Regime
PART II. INTERVENTIONS: RIGHTS AND VALUES
Chapter 4. The OIC's Human Rights Policies in the UN: A Problem of Coherence
—Ann Elizabeth Mayer
Chapter 5. The OIC and Freedom of Expression: Justifying Religious Censorship Norms with Human Rights Language
—Heini í Skorini
Chapter 6. Competing Perceptions: Traditional Values and Human Rights
—Moataz El Fegiery
Chapter 7. The Position of the OIC on Abortion: Not Too Bad, Ugly, or Just Confusing?
Chapter 8. The OIC and Children's Rights
—Mahmood Monshipouri and Turan Kayaoglu
PART III. INTERSECTIONS: CONFLICTS AND COOPERATION
Chapter 9. The OIC and Conflict Resolution: Norms and Practical Challenges
Chapter 10. Fragmented Aid: The Institutionalization of the OIC's Foreign Aid Framework
—Martin Lestra and M. Evren Tok
Chapter 11. Governance of Refugees in the OIC
—Zeynep Şahin Mencütek
Chapter 12. The OIC and Civil Society Cooperation: Prospects for Strengthened Human Rights Involvement?
—Marie Juul Petersen
"A well designed and executed volume,The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Human Rights offers a balanced and wide-ranging overview of both important rights issues-such as freedom of expression and the rights of the child-and the varied domains of the OIC's activities, from its participation in the United Nations to its role in resolving conflicts and facilitating foreign aid."—Jack Donnelly, University of Denver
"The Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), whose member states encompass a quarter of the world's population, is an increasingly important albeit problematic actor in the human rights arena. This volume is a treasure trove of information and reflection on the OIC's human rights practices and policies and an indispensable guide for anyone interested in the international politics of human rights, the role of international human rights institutions, and the relation of Islam to human rights."—Jamie Mayerfeld, University of Washington
"This volume offers a comprehensive accounting of the OIC as a player in the global rights regime. The editors have assembled an impressive roster of well-known and respected contributors who have done thoughtful and careful research on the major topics involving the intersection of human rights and the OIC."—Haider Ala Hamoudi, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
"Exploring the origins and theoretical foundations, as well as the structure and characteristics, of the OIC, this ambitious volume is a timely resource for those who want to acquire a deeper understanding of Muslim politics and human rights."—Emmanuel Karagiannis, King's College, London