Sujan R. Chinoy, Director General of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, discusses how Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been ambivalent about China’s treatment of Uighurs while making repeated references to Kashmir and support resolutions against India, in the 14th Summit of OIC held in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on 31st May 2019, under the influence of Pakistan.
About Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC):
- OIC is the second largest Inter-governmental Organisation after United Nations.
- It was founded on 25th September 1969, with the historical summit at Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco.
- Members – 57 member states with a collective population of over 1.8 billion.
- Headquarter: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
- Yousef Al-Othaimeen is the 11th Secretary General who assumed the office in November 2016.
- The OIC has a permanent delegation to the United Nations and the European Union.
- Raise the collective voice of Muslim World.
- Collectively work to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.
- OIC has routinely expressed its solidarity with Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Bosnia, as well as with the peoples of the Turkish Cypriot state, Kosovo and Jammu and Kashmir.
India and OIC:
- India, even though having a 180 million Muslims, the third-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan, is neither a member nor having an observer status in OIC.
- Pakistan has blocked the entry of India to OIC under Article 3(e) of the Conditions for Accession to Observer Status at OIC, which restrains the Country from membership, having conflict with any of the member states.
- Bangladesh in the 45th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC, had proposed to induct India as an observer to OIC, but was halted by Pakistan.
- India now has focused on the strong personal and state-to-state ties to be built with important OIC states, especially the UAE.
- Recently, India had been the ‘Guest of Honour’ at the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC held in Abu Dhabi in March 2019,
OIC on Kashmir Issue:
- Pakistan has always used OIC, since its establishment in 1969, as a platform to gather support on the Kashmir conflict against the Republic of India.
- In the 44th OIC-CFM meeting at Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in 2017, the OIC had passed a unanimous resolution endorsing the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) report over the “gross human rights violation of India Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
- In the 45th OIC-CFM meeting at Dhaka, in 2018, even though the OIC, initiated a resolution reaffirming its firm solidarity over Kashmir issue, it had avoided taking any significant stance.
- In the 46th OIC-CFM meeting held in Abu Dhabi in March 2019, the OIC had passed a customary resolution referring to Kashmir and expressed concern at the situation of Muslims in India.
- In 14th OIC summit at Makkah, Saudi Arabia on 31st may 2019, with a resolution on Kashmir, OIC had announced a Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir.
India’s reaction on the issue:
- India had outrightly rejected all the references of OIC form start and had condemned OIC for taking a stand in India’s internal matters, time to time.
- India in reaction to its Final Communiqué adopted at the 14th Summit of OIC member states held at Makkah on May 31, 2019, has warranted OIC from making any unacceptable references in future.
OIC’s ignorance towards other Human Rights Violations:
- Gulf Countries and Pakistan:
- OIC has refrained itself in taking any action against violations of human rights in the countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia etc.
- OIC has turned a Nelson’s eye to the human rights violations committed by the actions of the Pakistani state in Balochistan.
- United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2018 after a review had blamed China for turning the Uighur autonomous region into a massive internment camp.
- Human Rights Watch report issued in September 2018 had also criticised Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang.
- However OIC had commend the eﬀorts of the Peo ple’s Republic of China in provid ing care to its Muslim citizens.
OIC’s ambivalence for China’s Uighur Issue:
- While remaining critical with reference Kashmir in India, OIC has always been wary for a stand in Uighur issue of China.
- Superficial references to the issue like,
- Baku OIC resolution of June 2006: an appeal to give special attention to the conditions of Muslims in East Turkistan (Xinjiang) and to examine the possibility of working out a formula for cooperation with the Chinese Government
- Islamabad OIC meeting in May 2007: an anodyne request to its Secretary General to make contact with the Government of China, on the matter and to subsequently report on these consultations
- Referring to the 2006, OIC Baku resolution, China banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement of separatist Uighurs from Xinjiang and yet got the entry in Abu Dhabi meeting.
- Why such a soft policy towards China?
- China is a major power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
- It is a large market for hydrocarbons and a source of arms and investment. So, countries under U.S. pressure and sanctions often turn to China for relief.
- Moreover, it refrains from preaching to others about human rights or systems of governance.
- OIC countries, under the influence of Pakistan, support resolutions against India despite having excellent bilateral ties with the country.
- However, the member states of OIC, while making repeated references to Jammu and Kashmir, has traditionally disregarded the fact that India is a democratic and secular country, where every citizen is protected by the Constitution and is free to practise one’s religion.
- They also have conveniently disregarded the fact that India regularly holds State and general elections, including in Jammu and Kashmir.