Gulf Declaration of Human Rights (GDHR) Protection against Slavery: A Double-edged Sword

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Mustafa el-MuminThe Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom

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The Gulf Declaration of Human Rights (GDHR) is a regional human rights document that has largely evaded wide academic discourse. The substantive debate is primarily between Khalifa Alfadhel and the author: Alfadhel praises the GDHR for its attempt at reconciling Islamic values with international human rights law, whilst the author argues the GDHR is an intrinsically flawed and vapid document that does not cement human rights in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This article seeks to strengthen the author’s argument, focusing on the GDHR’s protection against slavery through a case study of the GCC’s kafala system. Comparative analysis between the GDHR, domestic GCC legislation, Sharīʿah and international human rights standards will plainly show how the GDHR fails in its intended objectives. Ultimately, the article will provide opportunity for further discourse surrounding the GDHR and what steps could be necessary to elevate the document to one of substance.

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