The gcc Human Rights Declaration: An Instrumentation of Cultural Relativism

In: Arab Law Quarterly
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  • 1 College of Law, University of Bahrain, Sakheer, Bahrain

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For the first time the Gulf Cooperation Council (gcc) adopted a regional human rights declaration that codifies the relevant States’ commitment to human rights. The Declaration illustrated the content and scope of such a collective regional pledge to protect and respect fundamental rights and freedoms. Although a soft-law instrument, the Gulf Declaration provides the foundations for a doctrinal commitment to human rights, based on a normative framework adopted in a mutual manner. This article will provide an overview on the content and scope of such document, and the theoretical arguments of universalism versus cultural relativism in light of comparative instruments. This article will argue that the Gulf Human Rights Declaration reflects a cultural aspect of human rights that needs to be commended in the consideration of such soft-law instrument, which will form a foundation for a regional customary law regime, based on State practice affirmed in the commitment to the Declaration.

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    See for example J.P. Humphrey, ‘The International Bill of Rights: Scope and Implementation’, Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 17(3) (1975): 527-541; L.B. Sohn, ‘The New International Law: Protection of the Rights of Individuals Rather than States’, Am. ul Rev. 32(1) (1982): 1-64; H. Hannum, ‘The Status of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in National and International Law’, Ga. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 25(1) (1995): 287-397.

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    See Hannum, supra note 5.

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  • 23

    A.J. Hussain, ‘The Media’s Role in a Clash of Misconceptions: The Case of the Danish Muhammad Cartoons’, The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 12(4) (2007): 112-130.

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