Speech of Mr. Habib El Malki at the 3rd Extraordinary Meeting of the PUIC Executive Committee

Speech of Mr. Habib El Malki at the 3rd Extraordinary Meeting of the PUIC Executive Committee

Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Habib El Malki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Parliamentary Union of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, at the Third Extraordinary Meeting of the PUIC Executive Committee, Rabat, 17 July 2019

Ms. Rebecca Kadaga Alitwala, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda,

Dear Colleagues, Members of the PUIC Executive Committee,

Dear Colleagues, representatives of the peoples,

Mr. Secretary General,

Mr. Deputy Secretary General,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I should like, first of all, to welcome you and to thank you for accepting our invitation to take part in this extraordinary meeting of the PUIC Executive Committee. Your participation shows how keenly aware you are of the magnitude of the challenges facing our Islamic world. It also attests to our common determination to come up with the necessary answers to the burning issues facing our countries, our peoples, our parliaments and our elites.

Four months ago, the PUIC held its 14th Conference here in Rabat. The strategic, political, security and economic challenges facing our countries are still the same, or may, indeed, have become more complex. For this reason, our answers to them, inside the PUIC, should be mature, consensual, realistic and effective. With that in mind, we have taken all the time needed to develop, together with the Union’s Secretariat, a draft interim action plan. In keeping with the approach based on consensus, consultation and joint action I have sought to apply during my term at the head of the Union, I invited the PUIC Executive Committee to meet in extraordinary session. The aim is to adopt an action plan for the inter-session period of the PUIC Conference and agree on the measures and initiatives to be undertaken.

I am therefore honored to introduce some of the highlights of this action plan and of the initiatives it contains. Not only was the PUIC General Secretariat duly informed of this, but it was also involved in the preparatory work over the past three months. This plan aims to achieve the following objectives:

Ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of PUIC action;

Achieve consensus among PUIC members on the issues addressed;

Confirm the independence of the PUIC as a multilateral parliamentary organization;

Ensure effective political reaction to developments in the Muslim world and at the regional level;

Intensify contacts and promote dialogue with multilateral parliamentary organizations outside the Islamic world to facilitate advocacy for the just causes of Muslim peoples, correct misconceptions about Islam and Muslims and combat terrorism, extremism and intolerance;

Make sure democracy and participation are among the Union's major objectives so as to enhance its credibility and confirm its independence as a multilateral platform that reflects the diversity of the Islamic world, its geographical breadth, its geopolitical importance and its demographic weight.

Based on the above, allow me to share with you a number of proposals.

With regard to the first proposal, and given our historical responsibility, it is only natural that it should concern the cause of Palestine, which is facing some particularly alarming developments. Their seriousness, in my opinion, is second only to the implementation of the Zionist plan to implement the Balfour Declaration, the partitioning of Palestine and the setting up of the occupying state.

I believe there is no need to recall the liquidation campaigns waged against the Palestinians, nor the fierce repression suffered by the valiant Palestinian people, who are fighting for their historic rights, including the setting up of an independent State, with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital, the return of refugees, in addition to the other inalienable rights.

Our proposal, in this regard, concerns the creation of the a Palestine Award for Democracy and Historical Justice. Once we agree on this initiative, I suggest that we define its general framework, including the context, philosophy, objectives, award conditions and regulations. This initiative aims to achieve the following:

To generate renewed international interest in the Palestinian question, especially as developments at the regional and international levels have pushed this issue to the backseat, allowing the occupation authorities to act with impunity against the Palestinian people;

Remind the international community, and the international parliamentary community in particular, of the legitimacy of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights;

Highlight the justness of the Palestinian cause and the legitimacy of the struggle of the Palestinian people who are living under occupation; demonstrate that the Palestinian people's struggle is legitimate and that it results from the occupation;

Encourage national parliaments in the Islamic world and in non-Islamic countries, as well as multilateral parliamentary organizations, to launch political initiatives and support the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause and the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people.

The second proposal is to work with the United Nations Organization for the adoption, by the UN General Assembly, of an annual World Day against Islamophobia and Intolerance and for the promotion of tolerance and dialogue among civilizations. We need, in this regard, to mobilize our countries’ diplomacy, involve the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in this initiative, and make a proposal to this effect on behalf of the Islamic group at the United Nations. We should also mobilize our allies, our friends and all stakeholders committed to justice, peace and tolerance in order to see this through.

We look forward to seeing this World Day serve as an opportunity for the international community to advocate for tolerance and coexistence, to highlight the moderation of Islam, to reject the discourse against Islam and Muslims, which feeds on Islamophobia, and to combat extremism and intolerance.

The third proposal consists in revitalizing the action of the PUIC’s Specialized and Subsidiary Committees during the period between the Union’s conferences. Their work should lead to the development of draft recommendations and resolutions to be submitted to the Conference. The aim is to build consensus around recommendations and resolutions following in-depth debates at Committee level, and to make sure that the topics addressed by the Committees are properly defined.

It is suggested that Committee agendas focus on priority topics for the Islamic world (each Committee within its area of competence). In addition to Committee members, government officials and experts from academia and research centers may participate in these meetings so that our Union may have a wide range of views that enhance our work and help us build diverse bridges with our societies.

It is proposed that the first meetings of the Committees be as follows:

Executive Committee meeting in Uganda, consistent with the resolution adopted by the 14th PUIC Conference;

Meeting of the Committee on Political Affairs and Foreign Relations in the country that would officially offer to host it;

Meeting of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Environment: it is proposed that it convenes in a sub-Saharan country, as a token of solidarity with African countries that are suffering from the consequences of climate change and are seeking to ensure sustainable development; such an initiative would be part of parliamentary advocacy for climate justice in Africa;

Meeting of the Committee on Human Rights, Women and Family: it is proposed that it be held, to the extent possible, in Tunisia, in appreciation for the reforms introduced by that country with respect to women's rights;

The Committee on Cultural and Legal Affairs and Dialogue of Civilizations and Religions: it is suggested that it convenes in a country in Central Asia;

Meeting of the Committee on Palestine: it is proposed that it be held in Rabat, given that His Majesty King Mohammed VI - may God assist him - chairs the Al-Quds Committee, and given also the political significance of the question of Palestine and its spiritual dimension for Morocco and for the other Islamic countries.

It is proposed that, during their next meetings, the Committees should have a close look at the reports and resolutions adopted by the 14th PUIC Conference, held in Rabat from 11 to 14 March 2019. The aim is to make summary conclusions and update them in the form of recommendations and resolutions to be adopted by consensus; they should be enriched and updated in preparation for the next PUIC Conference.

The fourth proposal is to call for a broad-based extraordinary conference of Muslim Women Parliamentarians sitting in Member Countries’ parliaments. However, participation should not be limited to regular members in the Union's organs. The conference would address matters relating to facilitating women's political participation, the exchange of experiences and the presentation of comparative studies on regulations that facilitate women's access to elected bodies.

Needless to say, this broad-based conference will send a number of messages to our communities, our elites, our partners and the world at large, to the effect that perceptions about the status and role of women in the Muslim world are not a true reflection of reality, and that many achievements have been made in this regard. We need to consolidate these accomplishments together. We also need to benefit from each other's experiences and from international practice in the area of facilitating the political participation of women.

As a reminder, Rule 6 of the Rules of Procedure of the Conference of Muslim Women Parliamentarians makes it possible for any member of the Conference of Muslim Women MPs to request the hosting of an extraordinary conference.

The fifth proposal concerns a set of measures designed to make regular PUIC conferences a platform for debate and for the adoption of documents on which consensus should be achieved at Committee meetings in the form of draft resolutions and recommendations. This consensus should be matured beforehand, away from the pressure of the conference. The aim is to improve what was agreed upon, make it implementable, positive and constructive, achieve consensus on it and make sure it has an impact on international decision-making and within multilateral parliamentary organizations.

In this regard, the Final Declaration could bear the name of the capital of the host country, and we would, as a tradition, record in it the agreed positions on issues that are of concern to our countries and peoples. It should include the general discussion which took place in the Committees and at the Conference. The general statement would provide a summary of the Committees' reports and would be adopted as a fundamental reference document in which any potential reservations may be recorded.

Madam Speaker,

Dear Colleagues,

Mr. Secretary General,

We are called upon to intensify contacts with multilateral parliamentary organizations so as to increase awareness about issues that matter to us and to defend our rights. I believe the proposals we have made contribute to strengthening and consolidating the achievements our Union has made over the past twenty years. I believe that the challenges facing our Islamic world, namely the continuing occupation of part of its land, terrorism, internal and regional conflicts, displacement, migration, unemployment, the need to achieve development and stability, the impact of climate disruptions and the promotion of democracy and peace, are major issues which require that we upgrade our work methods. We need to make them more effective and ensure that our decisions have a greater impact on Islamic public opinion and, ultimately, on international public opinion.

Welcome again. I should like you to know that the Moroccan section and myself are keen to contribute to enhancing the Union’s cohesion so that it may play a part in meeting the challenges confronting us all.

Thank you.