The issue of human rights has rarely influenced policies of the League of Arab States, which has failed to criticize its members for violating human rights. Therefore, the adoption of the Arab Charter on Human Rights in 2004 is considered a significant event in the field of human rights in the Arab region. The aim of this article is to explore the main features of the Arab Charter on Human Rights in order to understand the potential role which it can play at both an international and regional level in the field of human rights.
On 15 January2008, United Arab Emirates was the seventh state to ratify the Arab Charter. Hence, it entered into force on 15 March 2008, i.e., 60 days after its ratification by seven states (Article 49(2)).
See Ahmed Abou-el-Wafa, “Les Droits des Relations Sociales Dans la Charte Arabe des Droits de l’Homme”, Revue Egyptienne de Droit International, 60 (2004): 21-25; Mervat Rishmawi, “The Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights: A Step Forward?”, Human Rights Law Review, 5/2 (2005): 361-373; P. Naskou-Perraki, “The Arab Charter on Human Rights: A new start for the protection of human rights in the Arab world”, Revue hellénique de droit international, 62 (2009): 117-136; Ahmed Mahiou, La Charte arabe des droits de l’homme, available at: http://www.aidh.org/Biblio/Txt_Arabe/Images/charte_arabe_ddh_mahiou_ 2004.pdf (last accessed: 19 October 2012).
The African Charter, adopted 27 June1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered into force 21 October 1986.
On 24 January2008, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, welcomed the 7th ratification required to bring the Arab Charter on Human Rights into force. Available at: http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/FECF244B8FDC53F0C12573DA00570791?opendocument&msource=WW139&tr=y&au’Ibid=3347358 Then, on 30 January 2008, she criticized the Arab Charter. Available at: http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/6C211162E43235FAC12573E00056E19D?opendocument (last accessed 19 October 2012).
On 5 February2003, Djibouti acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, [opened for signature 15 December 1989, G.A. res. 44/128, annex, 44 UN GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 207, UN Doc. A/44/49 (1989), 1642 UNTS. 414 (entered into force 11 July 1991)]. However, Djibouti agreed the Arab Charter, without reservation, on Arab Summit in Tunisia in 2004.
See Dalia Vitkauskaite-Meurice, “The Arab Charter on Human Rights: The Naissance of New Regional Human Rights System or a Challenge to the Universality of Human Rights?”, Jurisprudence, 119 (2010): 175-176; Mervat Rishmawi, “The Arab Charter on Human Rights and the League of Arab States: An Update”, Human Rights Law Review, 10(1) (2010): 172-175.