September 16, 2019

Rights of Ethnic and Religious Minorities

Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Topic: Rights of Ethnic and Religious Minorities

According to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, “States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.” Conflicts between the majority and minority groups within the Islamic community have existed for many years. Concerning religion, Sunni and Shia are the primary sects, with Sunni making up 85% of the world’s Muslims and Shia making up 15%. The two groups have distinct differences originating with indecision over who would be the first leader of the Islamic community. Now, struggles for power create strife within many Middle Eastern countries. Within the scope of the world, Muslims face religious persecution regardless of sect. Ethnic minorities within the Islamic community face oppression as well. Throughout both the Middle East and other countries, ethnic minorities face persecution, including detainment, discrimination, and political and social inequality.

Due to the aforementioned oppression, many ethnic and religious minorities around the world do not enjoy the same access to political influence, education, and economic opportunities. The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights forbids discrimination based on race, religion, language, and other considerations. It is by that Declaration passed in 2020, that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation established its views on Human Rights. However, minorities across the world face persecution for just those traits. The founding charter of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation calls for the promotion of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and good governance, all of which stand in contradiction to those that infringe on the rights of minorities. It is the responsibility of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, per Article 1 Section 16 of the Charter, to determine the best course of action to remedy these issues and monitor its effectiveness in member and non-member states.

How should the Organization of Islamic Cooperation go about evaluating inequality for ethnic and religious minorities? How can support be administered to those who suffer from violent disputes? At what pace should member states be expected to uphold political equality for their ethnic and religious minority citizens?

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