ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday inaugurated the 8th meeting of the Istanbul Process, themed “10th anniversary of UN Human Rights Council resolution 16/18: Looking Back and Moving Forward.”
The meeting is being hosted on a virtual platform by Pakistan from Geneva.
In his key-note address, the foreign minister highlighted that securitization of State policies, deployment of incendiary rhetoric by public office holders, and misuse of social media platforms were among the main drivers of the growing incidents of religious intolerance, discrimination and violence worldwide.
The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi noted that while people of every faith had been victims of these scourges, Muslims and Islam had borne their main brunt.
The foreign minister presented a three-pronged preventive and action-oriented strategy as a way forward to prevent and counter these contemporary menaces: (a) reviewing discriminatory State laws, policies and practices; (b) promoting inter-faith harmony, tolerance and peaceful co-existence, while building legal deterrence against hate speech; and (iii) concluding an international instrument that prohibits dissemination of ideas and expressions which incite acts of religious intolerance and hatred leading to violence.
The Foreign Minister of Turkey, the OIC Secretary General, the UK Minister of State for the UN, the US Under-Secretary for Democracy and Human Rights, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the President of the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, the High Representative for UN Alliance of Civilizations and the former OIC Secretary General Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu also delivered remarks during the opening segment.
Nearly 200 participants from States, inter-governmental organizations, civil society, faith community, mainstream and social media are attending this virtual moot.
Throughout the day, panel discussions will take stock of the progress made in the last 10 years, analyse contemporary concerns, and explore ways to counter these challenges.
In his statement, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said that the hosting of this 8th Istanbul Process meeting signifies Pakistan’s resolve to foster dialogue, and encourage adoption of affirmative and regulatory measures as a bulwark against rising incidents of incitement to violence against people of faith in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision.
The Spokesperson said that as the OIC Coordinator on Human Rights Affairs in Geneva, Pakistan played a lead role in crafting political consensus on HRC resolution 16/18 in 2011, which outlines an 8-point Action Plan to counter discrimination and violence against individuals and communities due to their religion or belief.
Asim Iftikhar said that Pakistan was also a key stakeholder in launching the Istanbul Process in July 2011, which is the implementation platform for resolution 16/18. Pakistan is part of the Quartet countries, along with Turkey, UK and US, which steer this Process.