• Member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) are calling on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to set up a permanent commission to report on human rights violations in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
  • The move comes in the wake of the latest surge in violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Important points:

  • It will be an independent, international commission of inquiry appointed by the UNHRC president to investigate violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Israel and Palestinian areas.
  • A commission of inquiry (COI) is the highest level of scrutiny that the council can authorize.
  • Another COI, for example, has been regularly reporting on Syria’s war nearly since its inception a decade ago – partially in hopes of collecting evidence that could be used in court one day.
  • The commission would also investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict including discrimination and repression.
  • Israel, backed at times by the United States, accuses the council of anti-Israel bias and has generally refused to cooperate with its investigators.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:

  • OIC is the second-largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states.
  • India is not a member of the OIC. However, India was invited as a guest of honour at the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in 2019.
  • It represents the collective voice of the Muslim world. It works for the protection of the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • It was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, in 1969.
  • Headquarters: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

UN Human Rights Council:

  • An inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.
  • The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council.
  • OHCHR is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UNGA on the principle of equitable geographical distribution.
  • Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
  • India was elected to the Council for a period of three years beginning 1st January 2019.
  • UPR serves to assess the human rights situations in all United Nations Member States.
  • These are made up of special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups that monitor, examine, advise and publicly report on thematic issues or human rights situations in specific countries.

Recent Developments:

  • The United States has announced that it would rejoin the UNHRC that it left in 2018.
  • The Council has adopted a resolution to scrutinise the gross violations of human rights in Sri Lanka.


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