Islamic Human Rights Commission Annual Report 2007

The annual report can be downloaded at the bottom of the page or here.

 Our aims are manifold, and our inspiration derives from the Qur’anic injunctions that command believers to rise up in defence of the oppressed.IHRC volunteers and campaigners come from many different parts of the world and many different backgrounds to share in the common struggle against injustice and oppression.

IHRC’s work includes submitting reports to governments and international organisations, producing articles, monitoring the media and producing research papers, which continue to shape the agenda both now and in the future. Further, IHRC plays an active role within communities by organising educational seminars, taking on discrimination cases, providing advice and support to empower local communities at all levels with particular emphasis on encouraging the disenfranchised to participate within the community and society as a whole.

Through various initiatives, innovative campaigning and sheer hard work, IHRC has earned its reputation as a trusted source of information, often spearheading new areas of research both leading and informing the struggle for justice. IHRC material has been widely used by other governmental and non-governmental organisations. The website in particular covers many aspects of its work and provides general information as well as material for the media, students, policy makers, lawyers and activists.

Having also built a large, committed network of campaigners across the world, IHRC has been able to mount numerous successful campaigns and will continue to do so in the future.

Chairman’s note

IHRC has continued to receive widespread recognition for its work this year and to end on a positive note, I am pleased to announce that in July 2007 Islamic Human Rights Commission received Special Consultative status with the United Nations.

Publishing

Our campaign work is not reflected in the events and literature produced by IHRC.

Monitoring the UN Human Rights Council: Racism – Second session
17 January 2007
A summary of the activity of the Human Rights Council during its second
session, (18 September – 6 October and 27 – 29 November 2006).

Monitoring the UN Human Rights Council: Defamation of Religions –
Second session
17 January 2007
A summary of the activity of the Human Rights Council during its second session,
(18 September – 6 October and 27 – 29 November 2006).

Monitoring the UN Human Rights Council: Minorities – Second session
17 January 2007
A summary of the activity of the Human Rights Council during its second session,
(18 September – 6 October and 27 – 29 November 2006).

‘The British Media and Muslim Representation: The Ideology of Demonisation’
16 February 2007
A report by Saied R. Ameli, Syed Mohammed Marandi, Sameera T. Ahmed, Seyfeddin Kara and Arzu Merali

The sixth report in the British Muslims’ Expectations of Government series explores the relationship between perceptions by and of Muslims and the role of domination and demonisation in the cultural language of the media. By analysing responses from a nationwide survey of 1125 Muslims, and answers from 57 qualitative questionnaires and analyses of television news, films and English literature this report seeks to answer some of these questions and to understand how media can influence public understanding and viewpoints.

Internally Displaced Muslims in Sri Lanka: Calls for Greater Attention to their Plight
20 April 2007
As the Sri Lankan civil war rages on, this briefing considers the impact on ethnic and religious minorities that have suffered human rights breaches at the hands of the conflict. Specifically focusing on displaced Muslims, it raises concerns on the targeting of minority groups based on their religious or ethnic affiliations.

Eritrean Refugees in Libya Facing Torture / Forcible Return to their Homeland
10 July 2007
A briefing detailing the plight of the detainees who have never been charged or tried in court and are being held facing impending deportation to Eritrea where they may be subjected to ill-treatment and torture.

Kashmir and Self-Determination: International Law as a Way Forward
17 July 2007
This briefing provides an introduction to the situation in Kashmir. It argues that the doctrine of self-determination is central to the peaceful future of Kashmir.

Freedom of Expression in Morocco: Retraction of freedom of expression in Morocco: The Case of Al-Adal Wa Al-Ihsan (Justice and Spirituality Movement)
10 August 2007
This briefing details the restrictions to the freedom of expression in the kingdom of Morocco. It also investigates the cultural and political factors involved, and the nature of the sensitive issues that are restricted within the country.

Review of Minority Conditions in China
17 September 2007
This report focuses on the persecution of religious and other minorities in China. While in recent decades China has been praised for opening up to the international community, the lack of democratic national elections remains a major criticism in international circles. The absence of political opposition to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) allows it to operate largely with no political accountancy, and little transparency. It has fallen upon international organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, United Nations Commission for Human Rights and Human Rights in China to monitor that human rights are upheld for the national population. Additionally, different ethnic groups have their own human rights organizations designed to uphold human right for their own ethnic group such as the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and the Uyghur Human Rights Project, or even the Tibetan Government-In-Exile.

Forthcoming Publications

Shadow Report on Belgium for presentation at CEDAW, October 2008
An extensive report is under way for publication, an abbreviated version of which will also be published and presented at CEDAW.

Shadow Report on UK for presentation at CEDAW, October 2008
An extensive report is under way for publication, an abbreviated version of which will also be published and presented at CEDAW.

Civil Society Expectations of Government: Germany, 2008
Research is under way into the expectations of civil society organisations of government, using qualitative surveys. This report aims to identify where civil society currents and thinking are in relation to public and political perceptions of civil society are. This is the first step in identifying how far government policy directed towards minorities, in this case German Muslims, is indicative of inclusive or exclusive policy.

Shadow Report on France for presentation at CEDAW, 2008
This report responds to the French government’s report to CEDAW on the position of women in France. The report will look specifically at the issue of hijab discrimination in France.

Muslim Profiling: New Reflections on the Policing of the Muslim Community in London, UK
Relaunching its seminal report of 2002, IHRC adds a new foreword and introduction, as well as reviews and professional comment. Muslim Profiling (2007) looks at how much has changed since its initial report into the policing of a counter demonstration by Metropolitan Police officers in early 2002, designated the ´Muslim demonstration´. The report adds insight into the issue of profiling in nuanced ways, as it deals with a case of mass profiling that existed (supposedly) outside the framework of security laws and discourse and which was referred to a demonstration that was profiled, despite being a diverse group of activists from different faiths and none, and different ethnicities. The original report identified how political agendas of certain civil society organisations had been imposed onto police practice, rendering it not only ineffective but also partisan, politicised and ineffective. The report asks whether in the last five years there has been a retreat from this practice, or whether the promotion of profiling has continued to serve political agendas.

Political Violence in the UK as Dual Manifestations of Anti-Muslim and Anti-Semitic Hatred: Attacks on Jewish Pro-Palestinian Activists
The increasing incidents of political violence against pro-Palestinian activists are little reported or understood outside the civil society circles within which such activists operate. As human rights defenders, they demand the support of civil society, yet their voices are often denigrated by official policies on discrimination that increasingly equate criticism of Israel or its nature as ethnically exclusive as a form of anti-Semitism. In the meantime activists from various religious and secular backgrounds experience violence that ranges from death threats in their homes, to physical attacks whilst protesting.

Some activists state that their political activism is integral to their faith and beliefs and that the violence against them equates to anti-Semitism. Some also share the opinion of other activists that the attacks on them are the result of an equation of them with peoples perceived to be Muslim, making such attacks also anti-Muslim attacks. This report examines how such multiple forms of discrimination work.

Muslim Students at University: Experiences and Expectations (working title)
The seventh volume in the British Muslims´ Expectations of the Government series, this report looks at expectations and experiences of Muslim students on campus and reflects upon the nature of both public discourse about Muslim students, and provides a theoretical background on minorities in university.

Shadow Report on Turkey for presentation at CEDAW, January 2009
An extensive report is under way for publication, an abbreviated version of which will also be published and presented at CEDAW

Seminar series and events

Launch of IHRC Report on the Media ‘The British Media and Muslim
Representation: The Ideology of Demonisation’
26 January 2007
This report was launched at the Foreign Press Association and received much attention, including a full page in the Guardian newspaper, a page on the Telegraph website, news pieces on BBC News 24, BBC World Service Radio, Al-Jazeera, Al-Alam, and other press including Spanish and other European press. The interest in the report has extended over the months with the report authors asked to make specialist presentations and appear in discussions including at the Edinburgh TV Festival in August 2007 and the Bath Literary Festival in 2008.

Meeting with Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of
religion and belief
7 June 2007
During her visit to the UK the Special Rapporteur met with civil society. Representatives met with her to discuss the situation of Muslims in the UK.

Discriminating against the Discriminated: Institutional Bias against Minorities in the UK Seminar
12 June 2007
The seminar was based around the findings of the BMEG research publications regarding social discrimination and minority rights. The seminar began with an introduction to the issue of institutional discrimination by Professor Saied Reza Ameli. There were four workshops which focussed on different areas of concern; family law, policing, the police complaints system, and the judicial system. The workshops produced fruitful discussions and recommendations to tackle the discrimination of minorities.

Attendees included: Nicholas Cooke QC, Barrister; Rosemary Bechler, Editor of Open Democracy; Nazir Afzal, Crown Prosecution Service; David Michael, founder of Black Police Association; Judy Clements (IPCC); Mark Hines (IPCC), Michael Ainsworth, CJS Race, Confidence and Justice Unit; Ali Fisher, the British Council; Shamle Begum, Liberty.

India’s ‘War on Terror’ and Human Rights
27 June 2007
A meeting in the House of Commons in support of the Save Afzal Guru Campaign. Speakers included; John McDonnell MP (Chair), Adnan Siddiqui (Cageprisoners), Amrit Wilson (South Asia Solidarity Group), Fahad Ansari (Islamic Human Rights Commission).

National Union of Teachers
24 September 2007
IHRC attended and gave evidence at the National Union of Teachers’ consultation regarding faith schools. Arzu Merali, Head of Research, presented evidence on the aspirations of Muslim parents and students for faith schools, based on volume three of the British Muslim’s Expectations of the Government research series ‘Secular or Islamic? What Schools do British Muslims want for their Children?’.

Know your Rights workshop
26 September 2007
Wimbledon Mosque
Fahad Ansari conducted an interactive workshop on citizens’ rights under the anti-terrorism laws in Britain. Approximately 50 people participated in the seminar which examined issues such as stop and search, detention without charge and ‘glorification’ of terrorism.

Annual Al-Quds Day, London, UK
7 October 2007
The Annual Al-Quds Day March and Rally against the oppression of millions of people throughout the world, symbolised by the Palestinian struggle for justice. This year’s Quds Day demonstration was organized well in advance which enabled us to have this year’s publicity and posters go out from the beginning of Ramadan, which included repeated daily advertisements over 50 radio stations. We managed to organise better PA system and had all main Muslim organisations join in as co-organisers, including non-Muslim organisations
like the 1990 Trust and Respect party. This also greatly contributed to a counterdemonstration, which was organised by the Iranian Communist Party and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, and some Zionist supporters, There were in total some 15 counter demonstrators.

THE ‘WAR ON TERROR’: Targeting Muslim communities?
16 October 2007
The speakers were Moazzam Begg, Abu Bakr, Clare Short and Massoud Shadjareh. The event was organised by Peace and Progress – the party for Human Rights.

The Politics of Radicalisation: Reframing the debate and reclaiming the
language
18 October 2007
This was a joint seminar organised by the Centre for the Study of Political Violence at Aberystwyth University and IHRC. It was held at the London Muslim Centre and was a closed session featuring invited academics, activists and community members from Muslim and Southern and Northern Irish communities. The seminar looked at the way the language and discourse of radicalisation was employed and suggested ways of moving the debate forward and reclaiming the language. IHRC’s Raza Kazim and Arzu Merali took part on the day, with Massoud Shadjareh and Fahad Ansari contributing to the organisation.

IGMG International Symposium:
Concepts of Chaos – Chaotic Concepts: Muslim Perceptions Of The Self And Of The World
28 October 2007
This conference was organized by the Islamic Community of Milli Görüs (IGMG) in Germany. IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh spoke about the importance of Muslim organizations in Europe to not only look after the Muslim community, but also to be a guiding torch for the whole of society in looking out for, and standing up for, everyone’s plight.
Speakers included: Syed Farid Alatas (National University of Singapore), Parvez Manzoor (Muslim World Book Review, Sweden), Amr G. E. Sabet (University of Helsinki), Ahmet Çigdem (Gazi‐University of Ankara), Stefano Allievi (University of Padua, Italien), Kadir Canatan (University of Balıkesir, Turkey), Salman Sayyid (Leeds University), Jörn Thielmann (University Mainz).

Lost: Unwrapping Muslim Identity
04 November 2007
Arzu Merali, Head of Research, made a presentation entitled, ‘This revolution will not be televised’, which was about citizenship as a human right and the need for confidence amongst minority communities in their identities.

International Conference on Islamophobia
08 December 2007
A two day conference held in Istanbul with over 100 speakers from all around the world. Organised by The Union of NGOs in the Islamic World (U N I W). IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh presented a paper on counter-terrorism laws in Britain.

A Decade of Fighting Injustice:
Islamic Human Rights Commission’s 10 year Anniversary Event
11 November 2007
The 10th anniversary event outlined some of a decade’s hard work by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) to ensure the rights of Muslims and people of other beliefs alike, are acknowledged, respected and upheld.

Leading Community figures spoke about the work of IHRC. The evening began with speeches on Palestine and IHRC’s work on this issue.

Dr Daud Abdullah, the Vice Chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain, Senior Researcher at the Palestinian Return Centre and lecturer at Birkbeck University, started his speech by saying that today all Muslims and non-Muslims had a reason to celebrate the achievements. He spoke about the importance of IHRC. He praised IHRC’s research, which he has used extensively and especially depended on their statistics. He also highlighted that the work of IHRC needs to be expanded, because it is one of its kind, and there is an ever increasing demand for its work.

Rabbi Cohen of the orthodox Jewish international organization the Neturei Karta, continued on the Palestinian theme and spoke about the distinction between Judaism and Zionism, as two totally separate ideologies. He said that IHRC is a human rights NGO, not just aimed at helping Muslims, but for the benefit of all people. He said that he is a witness of how IHRC has helped his community.

Rabbi Weiss came on his own expenses all the way from New York to participate in the 10th anniversary event. He spoke about how the IHRC team had enabled him and his colleagues to attend the UN World Conference on Racism in South Africa in 2000. The cooperation between the rabbis and IHRC resulted in dispelling the Zionist myth that all Jews support the state of Israel and that anyone who is critical of the state of Israel is anti-Semitic. In fact they were so successful that not only did the NGO forum vote against Zionism, but the UN also voted that Zionism was inherently racist and that Israel was an apartheid state. The Israeli ambassador wrote an article in a local paper that they had lost the propaganda war in this conference. Rabbi Weiss also surprised everyone by presenting a framed certificate to Massoud Shadjareh, Arzu Merali and the IHRC in appreciation of IHRC’s work for the last ten years.

Imam Achmad Cassiem spent eleven years in Robin Island prison in apartheid South Africa, he was the youngest person ever imprisoned. Imam Cassiem is the National Chairperson of the Islamic Unity Convention of South Africa and the leader of Qibla, the only Islamic anti-apartheid group. He is also an advisor to IHRC.
In his speech, which opened the Prisoners of Faith segment, Imam Cassiem highlighted the importance of IHRC especially now more and more individuals are being imprisoned simply because they stand up for their principles and beliefs. He also talked about the ‘faith of prisoners’ and the importance of our support for these prisoners and their families. Finally he advised the audience that ‘we should all have the mentality that: ‘everyday is a good day to learn, everyday is a good day to live, and everyday is a good day to die’.

Massoud Shadjareh, the Chairman of IHRC spoke about the prisoner of faith campaign that has to this day resulted in the release of 2500 people from prisons all over the world, included people like: Sheikh Ibraheem Al-Zakzaky, (Nigeria); Nureddin Sirin, (Turkey); Gul Aslan, (Turkey); Mustafa Dirani, Sheikh Obaid and Retensi (Palestine). Massoud also reminded everyone that prisoner of faith also includes a special category of individuals: the rabbis who have been imprisoned for making a principled stand against Israel by refusing to serve in the Israeli army.

Faiza Haq, Faiza Haq is one of the Campaign Support Officers at IHRC. Over the past year, she has been working on the Prisoners of Faith campaign. Faiza spoke about some of the prisoners whose release she has been campaigning for. She quoted a letter from one of her cases, Sami Al Hajj’s, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay:

“…Was my going to Afghanistan for less than four weeks and carrying a camera for the Al Jazeera news channel straight after the terrorist war against the unarmed Afghan people a crime I am being punished for with incarceration for more than four years, the upshot of which is that I am accused of terrorism?! There are many questions that are going around and around in my head like a millstone, poking at the reality behind the glossy slogans boasted by the flags of freedom, peace and democracy all over the world.”

Dr Saied Ameli is Professor and Director of the Institute for North American & European Studies at Tehran University. Dr Ameli began the discussion on Islamophobia and how to challenge it. He described Islamophobia as a phenomenon which is intended to deepen the distance between the west and the Muslim world. He also spoke about religiophobia and how such policies can potentially be a political force for clash of civilizations, marginalization of ‘other’ civilizations and domination. Dr Ameli said that IHRC is about care and responsibility for all the oppressed and needy people. IHRC is not only a type of professional human rights activism, rather its philosophy is affected by Liberation Theology which cares about all creatures of God.

Imam al-Asi, the elected imam for Washington mosque, spoke about the importance of IHRC and noted that, unfortunately, IHRC’s work will continue to be much needed. He also referred to the speech of Rabbi Weiss, and said that Zionism has not only misinterpreted Judaism, but also Christianity and Islam. The imam said that there would be no end to Islamophobia as long as the Zionists are allowed to promote hatred to achieve political ends.

Beena Faridi, case worker at IHRC, she talked about her heavy caseload which involves issues of anti-terror laws, prison discrimination, employment rights, family law, mental health, immigration, police misconduct and racially and religiously motivated hate crimes. She explained that Islamophobia in Britain was increasing day by day, and how important it is to battle it.

Award-winning journalist Yvonne Ridley held the fundraising section of the evening. Many donations standing orders and pledges were made. Yvonne auctioned a picture painted and signed by prisoners in Belmarsh.

Yvonne spoke about the importance of IHRC’s work and urged everyone to donate and support its cause. In her session a number of short films of victims of human rights abuses were shown, where they testified how IHRC had helped them.

Cehl Fakeemeeah, an ex prisoner of faith, came all the way from Mauritius to speak about how IHRC helped him. Cehl was abducted by police, beaten and tortured to the extent that he had to be taken to his court hearing in a wheelchair. IHRC campaigned for him resulting in his release in 2003. While in prison Cehl became hafiz of the Quran. In his speech he urged everyone to support IHRC, who came to his aid when no one else would.

Dr Abdul Wahid, spokesperson for Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain, spoke of the importance of IHRC’s research because it has highlighted the true situation of Muslims in the UK. He said that this research is an invaluable tool for Muslim organizations. He also stressed that there is no other organization like IHRC and that IHRC plays a vital role defending the Muslim community in a manner which is informed and scholarly.

Mudassar Arani, is a leading human rights lawyer and advisor to IHRC, praised the work of the IHRC. She recalled that IHRC convinced her to take on the case of Nureddin Sirin, which she eventually took to the European Court of Human Rights and won. She also spoke about how IHRC supports and coordinates lawyers like her to help victims, and stressed IHRC’s importance in this field.

George Galloway spoke about the double standards and hypocrisy currently at play in UK and International politics. He highlighted the important role IHRC’s has played in dispelling the phenomenon. Mr Galloway also said that IHRC needs to expand in order to educate society and that people should support IHRC in every way they can.

Fahad Ansari, lawyer and member of IHRC, who begun the debate on security and civil liberties, spoke about the way anti-terror laws have become an instrument of oppression.
He spoke of the double standards at play when extreme right wing individuals, who were caught with the largest ever haul ever found in the UK of bomb making chemicals and equipment but were only charged under the Explosive Substances Act rather than the anti- terrorism laws. Nine months later a Muslim girl who wrote a poem about terrorism on the back of discarded till receipts was found guilty of a terrorism offence. Mr Ansari also advised everyone to ‘put IHRC’s chairman’s mobile number on speed dial’, because, as Mr Ansari said, he will always answer, no matter how late in the day.

Moazzam Begg, an ex Guantanamo Bay prisoner, talked about the importance of IHRC in protecting the human rights of those who have no one else to protect them. He urged everyone to support IHRC, because people in his position are in great need of IHRC’s help.

Raza Kazim, spoke about policing and how the police has become a political tool and institutionally Islamophobic. He spoke about the shoot to kill policy, which was adopted by the police adopted after training in Israel. Mr Kazim highlighted that there are always exceptions, and was proud to award Bob Lambert, a Detective Inspector at the Muslim Contact Unit at the Metropolitan Unit, an award for his commitment to create a better society.

Massoud Shadjareh, Chairman of IHRC, wrapped up the evening and thanked all the participants for their contributions.

Campaigns
Rizana Nafeek , Sri Lankan Teenager, Facing Miscarriage of Justice in Saudi Arabia
27 September 2007
Rizana Nafeek is currently detained facing the death penalty in KSA, after she was allegedly forced to confess to strangling a four-month-old infant put in her care by the family that employed her.

Mohammed Hussein: Briton Detained and Tortured in Iraq
19 September 2007
Mohammed Hussein has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in Iraq upon allegations of terrorism.

Prisoner of Faith: Sami Muhyideen Al Hajj
18 September 2007
According to a medical report written by a team of British and American psychiatrists Sami Al Hajj, the Al Jazeera Cameraman, is close to death. Sami Al Hajj has been detained without charge or trial at Guantanamo for the past five years. In January 2007, he began a hunger strike in a desperate protest against his unfair detention and the inhumane conditions he endures daily. His strike continues unabated till today. The US military police resorted to feeding him by force via a tube through his nose. He has lost nearly a fifth of his body weight, and has weakened to the extent that a team of American and British psychiatrists have recently issued warnings that he may become the fifth person at Guantanamo to take his own life. According to their report, he is suffering from severe depression and has lost the will to live. He needs immediate medical attention.

Prisoner of Faith: Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, USA
13 September 2007
Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman is the elderly Egyptian sheikh, imprisoned in the US in 1995 under sedition laws last used during American civil war. He is now 69 years of age and his health has deteriorated significantly.

Malaysia ISA: Mat Sah bin Mohammed Satray
17 July 2007
Mat Sah bin Mohammed Satray is a Malaysian individual held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) of Malaysia for the past five years. ISA is the primary piece of anti-terror legislation being enforced in Malaysia, under which an individual can be held for upto 60 days without a warrant or recourse to trial or access to legal counsel, merely on the basis of suspicion. After the 60 day period ends, the detainee’s case is referred to the Home Secretary who can extend the detention period for two more years which is then renewable indefinitely.

Prisoner of Faith: Khairat Al-Shater, Egypt
16 May 2007
Khairat Al-Shater is the deputy to the supreme guide of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Prisoner of Faith: Imam Jamil Al-Amin, USA
16 March 2007
The 16 March 2007 marked the Seventh Anniversary of Imam Jamil’s incarceration.
Imam Jamil had an unfair trial. Despite confessions of another man to committing the crime, Imam Jamil remains in jail.

Human Rights Website Censored in Bahrain
31 October 2007
Website of the HAQ Movement is yet another human rights website that has been censored by the information ministry of Bahrain this year.

Saudi Gang Rape Victim Facing Miscarriage of Justice
19 November 2007
A Saudi teenage girl has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison after she was the victim of gang rape. In mid-December 2007 she was pardoned and her sentence for lashing dropped.

IHRC calls for the immediate release of Gillian Gibbons
29th November 2007
British primary school teacher Gillian Gibbons was charged with “insulting religion and inciting hatred” by the Sudanese authorities.

IHRC supports the National Campaign Against ‘Anti-Terror’ Powers
29 November 2007
A national campaign is bringing together civil liberties activists, migrant groups, Muslim groups, lawyers, journalists, academics, trade unions and environmental campaigners amongst others. The campaign opposes all current anti-terror laws as well as their extension. This broad approach will help to involve everyone affected by those powers, could deter their use, and will provide extra reasons to oppose their extension.

Detained AP Photographer has his First Hearing in Iraqi Court
14 December 2007
AP photographer Bilal Hussein had his first hearing in Iraqi Court after almost 20 months of detention.

Case work

IHRC receives numerous calls from members of the Muslim community, as well as non-Muslims, who are in desperate need of assistance due to discrimination or violation of human rights. Common problems include Islamophobic harassment from neighbours, as well as harassment at work. IHRC assists in cases related to Anti-Terror legislation. Issues can include house raids, police harassment, confiscation of items and money.

In September 2007 the caseworker has dealt with the following cases:
Airport Harassment 3
Assaults 3
Asylum 1
Burial 1
Child Custody 1
Employment discrimination 7
Goods and Services discrimination 3
Housing 4
Immigration 9
IPCC 2
Mental health 2
Niqab harassment 2
Nursing 1
Police harassment 4
Prison 7
School/Hijab 1
School/ fasting 1
School/praying 1
Terrorism 3
Unfair trial 1

UN programme

The last ten years IHRC has worked hard to expand its UN programme. We have worked with the UN / DPA with reference to Palestine and we have continuously monitored the human rights work of the UN. At last, after many years of continuous effort, the IHRC was granted special consultative status with the United Nations in July 2007. Such status gives NGOs access to the UN offices in Geneva, New York and Vienna. Most importantly we are now able to attend the meetings of the Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Council is the UN body that deals directly with human rights violations and whose primary purpose it is to protect and promote human rights. Attending the council’s meetings presents a rare opportunity to speak with state representatives and meet other NGOs and it provides a platform for dialogue.

Activities 2007

Meeting with Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion and belief
7 June 2007
IHRC representatives met with the Special Rapportuer. She was on a visit to the United Kingdom in the course of writing her report on the level of respect of the right to freedom of religion in the UK.

UN International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Brussels.
12-18 August 2007
IHRC chairman attended the conference with Rabbis from Neturei Karta as part of the group.

Attending the 6th session of the UN Human Rights Council
17-21 September 2007
The IHRC attended the 6th session of the Human Rights Council. Lobbying for the replacement of the Working Group on Minorities with a Forum on Minority Issues was one of our main priorities. The IHRC campaigned vigorously to prevent the voices of minorities being silenced at the UN, following a threat to dismantle the long-standing working group on minorities without any guarantees that anything would replace it. We cooperated with Minority Rights Group (MRG) and the International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination (IMADR) who are NGOs with expertise in this field. The Human Rights Council voted to establish a new Forum on Minorities Issues which replaces the old working group. The resolution was passed without opposition by the 47 member states on the 28th of September.

While at the Human Rights Council we were also able to meet with the Independent Expert on minority issues. We assisted her in her preparation for her official mission to France on 28 September by contacting members of civil society and members of the public to meet with her during her visit. Subsequently, during her official mission to France, the Independent Expert, Ms Gay J. McDougall, found that serious discrimination is experienced by members of minority communities in France and she called on the French Government to respond with policies that address effectively widespread, entrenched and institutionalized discrimination in French society.

Meeting state representatives in Geneva has proven a fruitful exercise. Due to contacts made with the Kenyan State representative, a case is now in the process of being resolved.

IHRC submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review mechanism
20 November
IHRC submitted reports on India, Bahrain, Tunisia, the Philippines, UK and Morocco.
Submitting reports to the new UN mechanism for human rights protection called ‘Universal Periodic Review’ (UPR), is a major part of IHRC’s UN programme. This mechanism enables the Human Rights Council to review every country’s human rights record on a rotating basis. It cannot be stressed enough how important the UPR mechanism will be in the international effort to protect human rights.

Attending the 6th (resumed) session of the UN Human Rights Council
10-12 December
The main priority was the annual report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism. Due to delays in the Council’s schedule IHRC was unable to present its planned oral statement in response to the report. However, the chairman of IHRC Massoud Shadjareh met with the Special Rapporteur and arranged a meeting for his next visit to the UK.

European programme

The IHRC seeks to engage with all the main European organisations, such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Engagement with such organs facilitates raising awareness about IHRCs research, inter alia, on Islamophobia. These organs are important channels through which the promotion and protection of human rights can be strengthened.

IHRC is conducting extensive research on discrimination against Muslims in the European Union with regards to women in particular. This involves networking with Muslim and non-Muslim civil and human rights organisation to widely disseminate a detailed questionnaire designed to ascertain the level of discrimination experienced by Muslim women and girls, in each particular country. So far the questionnaire has been translated into ten European languages with more translations being made available soon. After the information is collated, the statistics provided by the questionnaire will aid and substantiate policy recommendations that will be made.

Activities 2007

Council of Europe: Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities Meeting with Civil Society
March 2007
IHRC participated in a meeting organized by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which is a body of eighteen independent experts in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Convention.

OSCE High-level Conference on Combating Discrimination and Promoting Mutual Respect and Understanding, Bucharest
June 2007
A representative from IHRC attended the conference and took part in seminars focusing on hate crime reporting and definitions, and Islamophobia.

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting on Human Rights, Vienna.
July 2007
A representative from IHRC attended the conference, focusing on legal systems and the implementation of human rights in member states. A lot of focus was given over to the countries of Central Asia.

OSCE Chairmanship Conference on Intolerance and Discrimination against
Muslims, Cordoba.
October 2007
IHRC attended the NGO preparatory meeting and the main conference to advocate for Muslim minorities in Europe. Specifically the IHRC made presentations on the roles of the media in combating Islamophobia.

Attachments