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Annex to the letter dated 23 May 2012 from the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
Ashgabat Declaration of the International Ministerial Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Refugees in the Muslim World
1. We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegations of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), gathered in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on 11 and 12 May 2012 at the International Ministerial Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Refugees in the Muslim World.
2. We recognize that over 14 centuries ago, Islam laid down the bases for granting refuge, which is now deeply ingrained in Islamic faith, heritage and tradition.
3. We express our deep concern over the situation of refugees in the world, particularly that most of them are hosted by OIC Member States.
4. We commend the contributions of the OIC Member States in hosting refugees in their territories, which is reflected in the fact that the 57 OIC Member States host 10.7 million refugees, including 5 million Palestinian refugees (based on figures provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)). We also commend the OIC Member States’ continued and steadfast commitment in providing protection to refugees, taking into account their respective national capabilities and domestic laws.
5. We note that the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol have enduring value and relevance in the twenty-first century. We also note the importance of respecting the principles and values that underlie these instruments.
6. We recognize the social and humanitarian dimensions of the problem of refugees and the need to address its root causes, and urge the international community to make efforts to prevent this problem from becoming a source of tension.
7. We value the generosity of the countries hosting large numbers of refugees and acknowledge the security, socioeconomic and environmental impact of the presence of large-scale refugee populations on these countries, and note with deep concern the declining levels of international assistance.
8. We also reaffirm the OIC resolutions concerning the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and stress the need to resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees in accordance with international law and relevant international legitimacy resolutions, particularly United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and the Arab Initiative. We also reiterate that UNRWA embodies the international responsibility towards Palestinian refugees as mandated by the General Assembly. In this regard, we highly appreciate the important role assumed by UNRWA in alleviating the suffering of Palestinian refugees. We call on the international community and the OIC Member States to respond to the appeals of UNRWA and keep up their support until the achievement of the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to the homes.