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Books and Documents

Islam and Human Rights

The Reality of Riyadh
Malini Nair

The numbers say that 2. 5 million Malayalees migrate to the Gulf that of them most do menial jobs and live in dehumanising conditions, that thousands disappear into the desert countries as slave labour never to be found again and that Qatar itself has reported 120 Kerala workers "missing" this year. But Najeeb Muhammad refused to be reduced to a trafficking statistic because he didn't let the indignities corrode his faith or his goodness....

 

Pakistan has been on the road to democracy since its independence. As in all countries worldwide, this road has been difficult and met with many obstacles. Pakistan has endured several periods of military dictatorship throughout its history, which resulted at times in massive violations of human rights. The perceptions of different groups in the society of not being treated on an equal footing with others created frustrations and demands which were often responded to through violent means and further inequalities....

 

Legalised Voluntary Euthanasia: Nothing in the Quran to deny such an equitable, just and compassionate moral procedure undertaken by the State
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

For the Muslim community there is nothing one can find in the Quran to deny such an equitable, just and compassionate moral procedure undertaken by the State within its legal duties فَرِيْضَۃَمِنَاللہ  on behalf of all, as a gift of service عَدلْ بِل الْحسَانْ.

There are various other practical factors involved in such issues such as Health facilities, family finances and State resources etcetera; which are beyond the scope here……But since, Life is sacrosanct it must be kept with dignity for the living and that must be the sole criterion --for it to be taken away except for truth الَا بِلْحَقِ17-33

Strength, determination and vision are the ingredients to make the impossible, possible. Usually transgenders in a society scrapes a living together through dancing, singing and begging on the mean streets of metropolitans. People tolerate them due to beliefs that they can give blessings towards a happy and successful life and equally the threat that they may curse those who treat them badly....

 

The high suicide rate, especially among blue-collar workers, in West Asia must push the government to explore labour-friendly solutions. Among other factors, working conditions tend to be harsh especially if you are a construction worker. Some unscrupulous employers (and not all) delay or don’t pay wages on time, physically abuse workers, retain passports to restrict labour mobility....

Islam Fully Protects Human Rights of Religious Minorities: Sultan Shahin tells UNHRC at Geneva
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

... In several Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, for instance, no religious minority can even build their places of worship. And this when not only international conventions to which they are signatories, but even the religion they claim as their own, Islam, fully stands for minority rights. More than any other country Pakistan seems to be suffering from an epidemic of minority bashing. It is time the UN Human Rights Council reminded these countries to respect their own signatures on the UN conventions, if they cannot follow their own religion.

This is not only giving these Muslim-majority countries, but our religion, Islam itself a bad image, leading to fear of Islam in the minds of many non-Muslims around the world. I would like to bring to the notice of representatives from the world community that our religion, Islam, stands fully for protecting the rights of the practitioners of all religions.  Indeed, the Holy Quran, while giving Muslims permission for the first time to defend themselves with arms, 13 years after the advent of Islam, asked them to do so in order to protect religious freedom per se, religious freedom of Jews, Christians, Hindus and Muslims,  not just the religious freedom of Muslims.

The Quran said in Chapter 22, verse 40: “And had it not been that Allah checks one set of people with another, the monasteries and churches, the synagogues and the mosques, in which His praise is abundantly celebrated would have been utterly destroyed. Clearly this makes it imperative as a religious duty on the part of Muslims to protect by whatever means available to them the rights of religious groups to build and worship God in their churches, synagogues, monasteries, temples, mosques. In Saudi Arabia, Taliban-controlled areas in Pakistan and Boko Haram controlled zones in Nigeria, for instance, it is impossible for religious or sectarian minorities to even build their places of worship, not to speak of practising their religions freely. The verse from Quran quoted above, makes it imperative on Muslims, in my view, to struggle to the best of their ability and resources, to change this situation. At the very least we  should try and convince the authorities in these areas who claim to be Muslim to follow the Quran in letter and spirit and stop adding to the Islamophobia already prevailing in the world....

Why This long Delay in Education for All
Yaqoob Khan Bangash is assistant professor of history at Forman Christian College

In 1948, Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights made education a ‘right’ for all, and bound its signatories to make primary education free and compulsory for all member states of the United Nations. Article 25A reads: “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.” Why this long delay? …

 

UN Human Rights Council and Issue of Human Rights Abuses in State of Jammu and Kashmir and Balochistan
Dr Shabir Choudhry, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs, London

People of Jammu and Kashmir need to understand that the Kashmir dispute has lost its importance in the UN, because of non implementation of the UNCIP Resolutions, and Pakistani governments were the main hurdle in that. Mehran Baloch, while talking on this subject said his people were being killed; and they have no option but to fight for their independence. He said to save life, dignity and honour of his people; he will even welcome help from swine. …

Pakistan has Signed but does not Follow UN Protocol on Religious Freedom: Jamil Maqsood tells UNHRC
Sardar Jamil Maqsood

Pakistan has signed convention of civil and political rights and protocol on religious freedom and freedom of thoughts, but the practice of the State and even the laws that have been promulgated there are completely contradictory to the letter and spirit of these conventions. For instance, the 1973 constitution of Pakistan declares “Ahmadis” as non-Muslims in clause 295C. This article is specifically directed against the Ahmadi sect.  No wonder Ahmadis are under attack since that article has been incorporated in the book of law. Anyone accused under this law is not given right to a fair trial.  Same is the fate of Shia minorities in that country. They are constantly under attack by extremists of the majority Sunni sects. ....

Human Rights situation in Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administrated Kashmir, Presentation by Dr Shabir Choudhry
Dr Shabir Choudhry, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs, London

Pervez Hoodbhoy, Professor of Qaaid e Azam University Islamabad, in his article, ‘Is Rohrabacher wrong on Balochistan, wrote: 'Pakistan has also long criticised India — and justly so — for its human rights abuses. But more people are dying in Balochistan today than in Kashmir. For all their brutality against stone-throwing Kashmiri boys, the Indians have not yet used helicopter gunships and fighter jets against Kashmiris. Pakistan, on the other hand, uses airpower as a matter of course in Balochistan and Fata. …

Gilgit Baltistan and Human Rights Violation
Chairman, Balawaristan National Front

These ID Cards issued by government of Pakistan do not give us rights but death. This is Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto the then Prime Minister of Pakistan who introduced sectarian violence in 1971 to divide the people on Shia Sunni line, when the people had broken Gilgit Jail to free their political leaders. If USA, Israel or India is involved, what some agency stooges say, then why the government of Pakistan and agencies do not present any proof, so the foreign killers are caught. … 

 

IHEU reminds Human Rights Council of Churches’ Failure to Protect Children
Former President, International Humanist and Ethical Union

Following a lengthy discussion and debate on the rights of the child at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today (9 March 2012), IHEU main representative Roy Brown raised two issues that had gone unmentioned during the several hours of debate: the problems faced by African children accused of witchcraft by evangelical Christian preachers, and the failure of the Holy See to honour its obligations to the world’s children under the Convention of the Rights of the Child. …

OIC Should See the Difference between Promoting Homosexuality and Fighting for the Human Rights of Gay People
Former President, International Humanist and Ethical Union

Many States have much to do in improving public policy regarding sexual orientation, and there is evidently a huge gap in knowledge and understanding of homosexuality and the transgendered among both the public and governments. Statements such as that recently heard here that homosexuals threaten the future of the human race do no credit whatsoever to a member state of this Council. …

ONE wonders when the agony of Balochistan — and the rest of Pakistan — will end. This country of ours seems to have attracted the evil eye. The break-up of missing persons shows that such violation of human rights is not confined to the unfortunate Baloch only but also includes other ethnicities and provinces of Pakistan. …

 

OIC Rights Commission and the Challenges Ahead

The announcement of establishing the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission at the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) in Astana, Kazakhstan in June 2011 is a milestone achievement that is part of a process for restructuring the OIC, which began in 2005 at the Extraordinary Summit in Makkah. The commission is launching its activities in a highly charged period of rising Islamophobia. ... 

There should be no question in any sound mind that what is being perpetrated for the sake of world peace in Afghanistan is nonetheless applicable under the context of the Guantanamo case. What has been documented by the Kabul justice commission report is in effect a form of psychological torture and a blatant affront to the values of all freedom everywhere. What the US considers as a military necessity continues to incite the reproach of political hypocrisy, unnecessary opposition, undermining America’s attempts to combat terrorism –if one is to reason that counterterrorism is the sole reason for a Middle East occupation. -- Tracy E. Tomlinson

An-Na’im is a practising Muslim. He takes his faith seriously and views himself as accountable for the ideas he presents not only as academic arguments but also as ideas in relation to his faith. The first sentence of his book is: “In order to be a Muslim by conviction and free choice, which is the only way one can be a Muslim, I need a secular state.” An-Na’im began his presentation by reminding us that out of 40 countries where Muslims are the majority most have no desire to have an Islamic state. Arabs make up only 12 per cent of the total Muslim population. The second-largest Muslim population is in India, which is a democratic and secular state. The combination of Shariah, or Islamic, law, and the notion of an Islamic state is not part of the lived experience of most Muslims. In fact, the term ‘Islamic state’ did not exist before the mid-20th century. It is a post-colonial concept based on European ideas of states and laws. It is not an Islamic concept. -- Sonya Nigam

Fundamental and human rights violations take place every day in Balochistan. In the past year over 300 mutilated bullet-riddled bodies of Baloch political leaders, workers, activists, students, teachers, lower grade public servants, have been dumped at desolate places or roadsides. Sectarian violence, especially targeting the Hazara Shia community (hitherto unknown in Balochistan and only in the past three years), and ethnic violence has seen an unprecedented rise. Most of these bodies are of missing persons (Baloch sources claim over 1,300 missing) who had been abducted by the perpetrators years ago and some recently. There are eyewitnesses in most cases of abduction but they are unwilling to expose themselves to a very real threat to their lives. -- Sheikh Asad Rahman

Both the state and its adversaries must beware the seduction of war — and the delusion that killing can be civil. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights mandated that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The Third Geneva Convention prohibited torturing prisoners of war. In 1987, the United Nations agreed that neither “a state of war [n]or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” -- Praveen Swami

Turkey is viewed as the successful merger of Islam and modernization. Turkey's standing in the region is growing, but its international credibility should be in doubt as long as it fails to address its human rights record, especially in regard to the large Kurdish minority. At the heart of the issue lie restrictive laws that limit free speech, prevent the teaching of minority languages such as Kurdish in schools and require a political party to secure a whopping 10% of the nationwide vote to gain a seat in parliament. -- Emma Sinclair-Webb

 

As people across the world mark Human Rights Day today, prominent rights groups are raising awareness of one violation that is often overlooked in Southeast Asia: The continued existence of the death penalty.  The report “When Justice Fails: Thousands executed in Asia after unfair trials,” released this week by the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, highlights the cases of eight people on death row in various countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  It included a Nigerian, Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke, who was arrested for drug offenses in 2003 in Indonesia and sentenced to death a year later.  “Only a small number of countries in Asia are still using the death penalty, but their actions cast a shadow over the entire region,” Adpan coordinator Louise Vischer said in a statement. -- Ulma Haryanto

The ambit of crimes against humanity includes: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime, within the jurisdiction of the tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated. Leaders, organisers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any person in the executions of such plans. The ambit and scope of crimes against humanity can only be improved based the definition prescribed by Nuremburg Tribunal, the ICC Statue and the like. -- Prof. Mizanur Rahman

BANGLADESH remains an overpopulated country. There are children belonging to very poor families who are deprived, underprivileged and often marginalised. Among them are the street children without parents, homes or any form of shelters. There are slum children living on the sides of the streets or next to the railways. These children start their day with the worries of collecting basic meals. In an age where they should be going to schools; they search for livelihoods. They have to work hard till the night. At times they are made to be involved in different types of risky jobs which are threats to their lives. While growing up, these children usually experience severe malnutrition, social repugnance and considerable vulnerability, as a result of which they often grow hostile, possess hatred and distrust is often drawn into these naïve children leading them towards criminal activities, thus playing the most effective role in tainting the society. -- Mahmuda Imam

 

After two harsh laws restricting people’s right to freedom of religion or belief were passed – and apparently before they came into force – Kazakhstan had begun closing mosques, churches and prayer rooms in prisons, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. “Mosques and Russian Orthodox churches were built in prisons in violation of building regulations and the law,” Aliya Kadenova, an aide to Eskali Salamatov, deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s Criminal Administration System Committee which oversees prisons, told Forum 18 from the capital Astana on 10 November. “They are illegal – that’s why they are being closed down.” International law clearly defends the right of prisoners to freedom of religion or belief. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has been ratified by Kazakhstan and came into force in the country in 2006. This states that, “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person” (Article 10, Paragraph 1). This specifically includes those held in prisons, detention camps or correctional institutions (General Comment 21 on the same article). -- Felix Corley

Nine youth accused in Malegaon blast case of 2006 have been granted bail by the MCOCA court. (Nov 6 2011). These Muslim youth were arrested after the bomb exploded on the Shab-e-Barat, killing several people. Immediately after that the Anti Terrorist Squad, arrested nine Muslim youth, there was really no evidence worth its name against them. Still police which is, motivated more by biases than by professionalism, arrested these Muslims youth. Similar things happened in Mecca Masjid blast when the authorities arrested nearly 25 Muslim youth after the blast in the mosque. The Godhra train burning investigation is also mired in much deeper misconception, where nothing could be proved against the alleged Chief conspirator, Maulana Haji Umarji. Despite that, other Muslim youth were given the sentence.  All these investigations show a clear pattern that the biases of the investigation authorities overtake their professional training.  This was also one of the lazy way of going about things as arresting Muslims after such an episode is passé’ in public opinion and in the media in particular. Barring a small section of media others hardly played their role of raising doubts about the methods of investigating authorities. -- Ram Puniyani

 
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