Update: 19.08.2011

Arab Charter on Human Rights

On 22 March 1945 Egypt, Jordan (Transjordan as it then was), Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia signed the Pact of the Arab League States and created the League of Arab States. This was with a view to strengthen the ties between the Arab States on the basis of respect for their independence and sovereignty and to promote their common interests. Over the years the number of members has increased and in 2011 the League had 22 members.

The Arab Charter on Human Rights was adopted by the League of Arab States in 1994. However none of the member states had ratified the Charter. The Charter was later updated and led to the amended version by the Arab summit in Tunis in 2004. The 2004 version of the Charter came as part of an effort to modernise the League of Arab States. The Arab Charter on Human Rights entered into force on 16 March 2008, two months after ratification of the seventh member state of the Arab League. The treaty body established to supervise its implementation is the Arab Human Rights Committee.

The Arab Human Rights Committee was created pursuant to Article 45 of the Arab Charter and consists of seven members elected by secret ballot by states parties, to serve for a term of four years. The Committee consists of state nationals who are independent and impartial. In accordance with Article 48 state parties undertake to submit reports on the measures they have taken to give effect to the rights and freedoms recognised in the Charter and on the progress made towards their enjoyment. The Committee will consider the reports in the presence, and with the participation, of the State party in question. The Committee may request additional information relating to the implementation of the Charter. Having considered the report, the Committee will issue final comments and recommendations which will be included in the annual report to the Council of the League of Arab States.

The League of Arab States is separate to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. The latter is the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the UN with membership in 2011 of 57 states. The Organisation has a permanent delegation to the UN and supports the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam to serve as a guidance for member states in human rights matters in as much as they are compatible with the Sharia Law. This  Organization was established at the summit in Rabat, Morocco on 25 September 1969 as a result of the attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Eleventh Islamic Summit held in Dakar on 13-14 March 2008 laid down the objectives and principles of the organisation and fundamental purposes to strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among the member states.

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