Many OIC member states are countries of origin, transit and destination, both for migrants and refugees. Many other are dealing with internal displacement. Since 1982, the OIC has remained “deeply concerned over the aggravation of the problem of refugees in many parts of the world, most of whom are members of the Islamic community.” UNHCR statistics show that over half of refugees and forcibly displaced, in the world today, are children. Unaccompanied movement of children is indeed an act of desperation.
- OIC has always remained engaged with international community particularly, on this issue. It has also developed guidelines for its member states. In this regard, OIC Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights of 1981, the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam 1990, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights 1994 contain clauses on the rights of forced migrants including the right to work and livelihood. Further, in November 2005, “the enhancement of the protection of forced migrants in the Muslim World” was placed permanently on the agenda of OIC.
- Protection and assistance to persons in need are central to Islamic Law. The Quran in various verses guides us to “give aid and comfort to each other” help “those who have been unjustly driven from their homes” or “those that fled their homes or were expelled from them, and those that suffered persecution.” Therefore, unlike international law, there is no difference in the rights and obligations of and towards the forced migrants. We remain deeply concerned especially when children remain vulnerable and exposed to multifaceted hardships due to migration.
- We are in the process of elaborating Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. We are encouraged that the discussions acknowledge the need to preserve the best interest of the child, ensure policies that eliminate detention of children, and family reunification. It is important to address root causes of displacement.
- We believe realizing the goals of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, coupled with enhanced regular pathways for mobility would help addressing the unaccompanied movement of migrant children.