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president OICOA
Şeref MALKOÇ
Chief Ombudsman of Turkey
President of OICOA
I would like to extend my warmest greetings from Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, to the esteemed Ombudsmen of different Ombudsman Institutions which are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ombudsman Association (OICOA) as well as all the other distinguished Ombudsmen around the world. Established in Islamabad, Pakistan on 29th April 2014 with the mandate enshrined in the ‘Islamabad Declaration’ and ‘Resolution’, the OICOA has been designed to promote and strengthen the institution of Ombudsman through closer interaction in OIC Member States. It aims at promoting exchange of expertise and best practices in complaint handling skills, speedy handling of public grievances, capacity building of Ombudsman institutions in Islamic world.I am proud to express that although only six years have passed since its establishment, it has 33 members from 20 countries. And the Association is open for and welcomes any new members from Ombudsman Institutions in the Islamic world.
The concept of the modern Ombudsman has its roots in ancient times. Actually, it is a variant of the Islamic era Mohtasib, and the Diwan-al-Mazalim.Having complete independence and functioning within the documented framework, the Mohtasib used to be an important public authority, appointed by and answerable to the Caliph or the King, assigned to conduct accountability of public officials. During the Abbasids era, complaint handling agencies, each headed by a senior judge called ‘Diwan-al-Mazalim’, were established to examine complaints brought by the public against government officials. And then during the Ottoman period, when the Swedish King Charles XII was defeated in the battle against Russian army in 1709, he spent five years in exile in the Ottoman Empire. During his stay, he had examined the Ottoman management system as well as Dîvân-ıHümâyûn(Imperial Council). He was particularly impressed by complaint handling practice of the Sultan who resolved incoming complaints against administration. Inspired by this mechanism, he sent an instruction for a similar system to be applied in Sweden, which paved the way for establishment of modern Ombudsman Institution. It makes us proud that the modern day Ombudsman, institutionalized in Sweden and spread across the whole world, is actually originated from the Islamic and Turkish culture.
Witnessing with great concern the rising racism and Islamophobia around the world, I would like to stress that our joint efforts and effective cooperation amongst all members are needed more than ever in order to respond to the current challenges of the modern world faced by the Islam countries and the Muslims.United in our common cause that we have the basic duty to respect, promote and defend all human rights and freedoms against any violations, I believe that we will show utmost effort for the purpose of realizing the objectives of the Association through interaction, valuable proposals from the members, training activities, conferences, meetings as well as possible cooperation agreements with similar organizations.
I would like to reiterate my deepest respects and wish you success in your endeavors. May God protect yourself, your family, your staff and friends.

Accountability and good governance are central pillars in the code of conduct presented by Islam. The main purpose of Quran is to present social order that is based on justice, equity, fairness and ethics. Particularly, dishonesty and injustice should be avoided by those in authority. Thus Islam puts forward the mechanism of Mohtasib. The fundamental building principle of every Ombudsman institution of OICOA is rendered from Islamic concept of accountability.

We, at OICOA strongly believe that a peaceful society contributes to a peaceful world. The agenda of peaceful coexistence can only be achieved through transparency, rule of law and just system of addressing grievances. This puts a huge responsibility at every Ombudsman Institution, which we endeavor to carry out with commitment and resilience.

Lets grow together has been the mandate of OICOA, which I strongly believe can only be enhanced through cooperation and working together. Knowledge is power that has the capacity to transform and generate new ways of growth. Islam also provides great impetus for the human pursuit of knowledge. Quran urges the mankind to think, ponder, reflect and acquire knowledge. I also believe knowledge is a powerful tool that can be used to empower and build others. If we follow practices of collaboration, I am hopeful coming years of OICOA will be more productive and high yielding.
secretary OICOA
Dr. Asif Mahmood Jah
Federal Tax Ombudsman, Pakistan
Secretary General of OICOA
I am sure with the support of member countries we can build and strengthen our association. May we all be guided by the principles of justice and righteousness.
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