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In her first statement as an IHEU representative at the UN Human Rights
Council in Geneva, Raheel Raza, a well-known women’s rights activist from Toronto, Canada,
attacked the failure of the Islamic States to protect women’s rights in their territories. Here is Raheel’s statement in
full:

International
Humanist and Ethical Union

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: 15th Session
(13 Sept – 1 October 2010)
Speaker: IHEU Representative, Raheel
Raza: Monday 13 September 2010
Item 2: Report
of the High Commissioner

Defending
the Human Rights of All People

Mr President

We thank the High Commissioner
for the emphasis she placed in her speech on the targeting of human rights
defenders, women and children.

There is no right more
fundamental than the right to life. But defenders cannot defend that right when
their freedom of expression and freedom of the press is curtailed, often
violently. We welcome her naming of several states whose record in this respect
falls far short of their international obligations.

Can we now hope that these
issues will be seriously addressed during this session of the Council?

In common with all States parties to the ICCPR, OIC Member States are supposed to be concerned with the
human rights of individuals both in their own territories and throughout
the world. Each state has the ultimate responsibility of protecting the human
rights of everyone, whether citizens or not, resident in their territory
and subject to their laws. The OIC states in particular are falling far short
of their obligations under international law in this regard, especially for
women.

In our written statement to this session we have highlighted many
examples which show the extent to which women’s human rights are denied in OIC Member
States.

We would respectfully remind both
member and observer states of the Council that they are here not to protect the
interests of their governments, their elites or religions but to protect the
human rights of all, and particularly women, whose rights are being
systematically abused in many of their territories.

Thank you, sir.

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