Final Communiqué of the Extraordinary Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee on “The Recent Developments and the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan”

“[The OIC] Urges the de facto Afghan Authorities to allow women and girls to exercise their rights and contribute to the development of Afghan society in accordance with the rights and responsibilities as guaranteed to them by Islam and international human rights law.” – Point 10, Communiqué from the Organization of  Islamic Cooperation.

Editor’s Introduction

Advocates for Afghan Women Scholars and Professionals, the signers of the letter to the UN and the OIC from faith and humanitarian organizations, all advocates of human rights and gender equality, all who see themselves as global citizens and all concerned about the future of Afghanistan, celebrate this communiqué from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. This statement, unequivocally asserting that Islam guarantees women the right to education and participation in public affairs, is the most powerful and relevant of all such statements that have been made in response to the Taliban’s ban on women’s education and employment. It comes from the global Muslim community, representing the faithful worldwide, and leaders of Muslim nations.

We congratulate OIC on this exemplary act of Islamic and international responsibility and commend the organization on the clarity with which it articulates the relevant Islamic principles and international standards of human rights law establishing equality between men and women as essential to just societies and world peace. As put forth by the UN Charter and The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the principle of equality is foundational to the world community, and this document is a highly significant contribution to women’s striving for equality throughout the world.

We commend to readers’ attention the practical recommendations offered in the communiqué. One of particular promise is calling for the UN Secretary-General to send high-level delegates to deliver the communiqué to the de facto Afghan authorities. Such a mission could build upon the January high-level delegation that, while it did not achieve reversal of the bans, made a special note of a willingness to engage. Clearly, the engagement should be continued. We also urge OIC to endorse and participate in the international conference on women in Islam, first recommended in that report issued by UNSG Amina Mohammed; and, simultaneously, to continue to strengthen cooperation with worldwide women’s movements by sending a delegation to the 2023 annual session of the UN  Commission on the Status of Women, being held simultaneously with the conference. A presentation on the communiqué at CSW could strengthen its effects.

For our part we advocates and educators will continue to promote attention to this remarkable document and encourage all GCPE readers/members to do the same, sending it to legislators and foreign ministries, and discussing it in classes and in civil society organizations throughout the world.  These discussions might inspire leaders of other faiths to take action regarding the roles and experiences of women among their faithful, so as to assure consistency with religious principles, gender justice, and equality.  Women of all faiths have long called for such. (BAR, 1/28/23)

[See more coverage on Afghanistan here.]

Final Communiqué of the Extraordinary Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee on “The Recent Developments and the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan”

(Reposted from: Relief Web.  January 11, 2023)

At the joint invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the current Islamic Summit and the Executive Committee and the Republic of Türkiye, and the invitation of the Republic of The Gambia, the Executive Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) convened an extraordinary meeting on 18 Jumada Al-Akhir 1444 AH, corresponding to 11 January 2023, at the headquarters of the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah to consider the situation in Afghanistan following the decisions taken by the de facto Afghan authorities to close down schools and universities to girls and women for an unspecified period and suspend women from working in all national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in violation of the purposes of Islamic law and the methodology of the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad – May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Him. The Executive Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation;

Guided by the principles and objectives enshrined in the OIC Charter and the relevant resolutions of the Islamic Summit Conference and the Council of Foreign Ministers, and the Final Communiqué of the Extraordinary Open-ended Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee at the level of Permanent Representatives held in Jeddah on August 22, 2021 regarding the situation in Afghanistan, and the resolution of the Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the “ Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan” held in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, on 19 December 2021, and the Makkah Al-Mukarramah Declaration issued on 11 July 2018 by the International Conference of Muslim Ulemas (Scholars) on peace and stability in Afghanistan;

Acknowledging the well-established Islamic values that constitute the spirit of the Muslim community;

Recognizing also that development, peace, security, stability and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing issues;

Reaffirming the strong commitment of the OIC Member States to the sovereignty, independence and national unity of Afghanistan; and to respecting the lofty Islamic customs and traditions;

Noting the deteriorating humanitarian, social, economic, and human rights conditions in Afghanistan;

Emphasizing the importance of investing in human development in a bid to achieve sustainable peace and development in Afghanistan;

Stressing the significant role of women in social and economic development and peace and security – building in Afghanistan;

Recalling that the right of women and girls to access all levels of education, including university level, is a fundamental right in keeping with the teachings of the noble Islamic shariah;

Recalling the international conventions on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the rights of children, civil and political rights, the OIC Charter, the 2025 Ten-year Program of Action (TYPOA), and the OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women in Member States (OPAAW);

Recalling resolution 4/48-POL on the Regional Initiatives in Support of Afghanistan adopted by the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers which “recognizes the importance of greater inclusiveness, including by strengthening participation of women and girls in all aspects of the Afghan society”;

Recalling the expectations of the OIC Member States and the international community from the de facto Afghan authorities to respect human rights, including the rights of women and children;

Gravely concerned about the worsening humanitarian and human rights situation in Afghanistan;

Underscores the need to steer all efforts towards achieving the Afghanistan’s development and the welfare of its people;

  1. Reaffirms solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, and the commitment to help them establish peace, security, stability and development;
  2. Welcomes the efforts of the OIC General Secretariat, the Special Envoy of the OIC Secretary General to Afghanistan, and the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) in engaging with the de facto Afghan authorities on issues of vital importance, in accordance with the noble Islamic principles and values and relevant OIC resolutions;
  3. Reaffirms the commitment of the OIC to Afghanistan as enshrined in its latest resolutions adopted by the Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) held on 19 December 2021 in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and the 48th Session of the CFM held on 23 March 2022 in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan;
  4. Appreciates the visit to Afghanistan in June 2022 by the delegation of prominent religious scholars and jurists led by the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) and the meetings it held with the de facto Afghan authorities ; calls for a second visit of the delegation of Muslim scholars to be arranged to engage with the highest officials of Afghanistan;
  5. Emphasizes that education is a fundamental human right which all individuals must enjoy on the basis of equal opportunity and in a non-discriminatory manner, and not be deprived of;
  6. Expresses its disappointment over the suspension of female education in Afghanistan and the decision ordering all national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to suspend female employees until further notice;
  7. Urges the de facto Afghan authorities to adhere to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the OIC Charter, and to abide by its obligations under international treaties and agreements, including their obligations under international human rights covenants, particularly regarding the rights of women, children, youth, the elderly and people with special needs;
  8. Calls on the de facto Afghan authorities to strive towards reopening schools and universities for girls and enable them to enroll in all levels of education and all specializations required by the Afghan people;
  9. Underscores the need to protect fundamental rights, including the right to life, security, dignity and the right to education for all Afghan women and girls in accordance with Islamic values and universal human rights standards;
  10. Urges the de facto Afghan authorities to allow women and girls to exercise their rights and contribute to the social and economic development of the Afghan society in accordance with the rights and responsibilities as guaranteed to them by Islam and international human rights law;
  11. Cautions against disruption of deliverance of humanitarian aid on the ground as well as the unimpeded flow of international humanitarian assistance, education, health and other social services to the people of Afghanistan due to shortage of female personnel;
  12. Encourages national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to continue humanitarian and relief operations despite practical difficulties on the ground;
  13. Stresses the need to have support of the international community to ensure that Afghanistan is assisted in its endeavors to achieve socio-economic development without interference in its internal affairs;
  14. Decides to coordinate with the de facto Afghan authorities in order to dispatch an OIC delegation and the relevant institutions with a view to assess the needs for technical and development assistance in particular for (small-scaled) income generating sectors and activities in the country;
  15. Calls on the international and the OIC community to provide technical and development assistance in particular for (small-scaled) income generating sectors and activities in the country with a view to improving the lives and the livelihoods of the Afghan people, considering that the economic crisis is a major factor leading to the tragic humanitarian situation in Afghanistan today;
  16. Calls for the dispatch of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Afghanistan to visit the country to deliver the OIC’s message on supporting Afghanistan and the importance of reconsidering the recent decisions taken by the de facto Afghan authorities on working women and girls’ education;
  17. Commends in this regard the support provided by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the budget of the Special Envoy for Afghanistan, enabling him to carry out his mission, as well as its generous donation to the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan under the stewardship of the Islamic Development Bank; also commends the support provided by other Member States that have made contributions to the Fund;
  18. Calls upon the Secretary-General to follow up and assess the situation in Afghanistan, and take any necessary measures in coordination with the members of the Executive Committee, and submit a report thereon to the next session of the Council of Foreign Ministers.
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