I have the honour to make these comments on behalf of the OIC Member States.
At the outset, we wish to congratulate you on your election as Chairperson of this important mechanism, and we are hopeful that under your able guidance and leadership, we would be able to make progress. We look forward to the discussions and their outcomes during this session.
The work of this Committee is even more relevant today than it was at the time of its inception. The world is facing myriad of challenges including economic meltdowns, rise of xenophobia and intolerance, international conflicts and worsening human rights and humanitarian crises. The complexity of socio-economic and political root causes of racial abuse has enhanced significantly, giving rise to new and contemporary forms of racial discrimination on basis of race, sex, language or religion, which are not covered under existing convention. This calls for effective legislation at both national and international to fill in the gaps and provide remedial measures for those who have been wronged and discriminated.
We believe that the historical perspective of racial discrimination and its continuing adverse effects on the lives of people and nations even today especially in economic, social and cultural domains cannot be forgotten. The ramifications of injustices of the past still haunt the lives of many today, and therefore, international cooperation is necessary for removing bottlenecks to better and equal standards of living.
The principles of human dignity, respect, and equality along with the universality of all human rights are at the core of international human rights mechanisms and instruments. The international anti-racism and discrimination framework must be in line with these objectives and any gaps, thereafter, need to be filled in. The Durban declaration, the General Comments of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the work of related special procedures, and the previously held discussions of this committee on topics of xenophobia, procedural gaps with regard to the CERD, national mechanisms, prevention and awareness-raising, special measures, including affirmative or positive measures, and effective and adequate remedies for victims can help in defining the elements for the developing of an optional protocol. The additional framework should be based on objectivity, coherence, and universality.
We are seriously concerned about the dangerous tide of extreme right-wing politics in many parts of the world by equating nationalism with patriotism. The rising trend of incitement to violence, hate speech and advocacy, xenophobia, racial and religious profiling, racial differentiation especially in border management and discriminatory immigration practices, islamophobia, negative stereotyping and stigmatization is alarming, socially unjust and highly condemnable. The indigenous population, migrant workers, refugees, and other vulnerable groups are facing multitude of discriminatory problems and harassment issues. These contemporary challenges further underscore the importance of supporting the Committee’s work.
We reaffirm our commitment for our constructive participation in the discussions and would also urge all the other countries and regional groups to set aside political differences and work on commonalities to fulfil the mandate of this Committee. Together, we can beat the hate mongers and xenophobic demagogues who exploit the insecurities of people to incite violence and hatred. Together, we can pave the way for a better future on the basis of our shared principles of tolerance, inclusiveness, non-discrimination and inter-racial harmony.
I thank you.