Islam and Intra-Muslim Regional Human Rights Mechanisms

Kamran Hashemi

Kamran Hahsemi*


The OIC and the Arab League are the largest intergovernmental organizations whose membership is comprised solely of Muslim states. In the early 1990s each organization adopted a human rights document: the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHR) and the Arab Charter on Human Rights (ACHR), respectively. These documents remained inactive for more than a decade until both organizations resumed their human rights activities in early 2000s, leading in March 2008 to the adoption of a new Charter for the OIC, with special emphasis on human rights, as well as the entering into force of a new version of the ACHR.
This paper will examine the extent to which Islam might contribute to the internal promotion and protection of human rights and the establishment of intra-Muslim regional human rights mechanisms. A special approach in the developing world towards human rights fulfillment is the “cultural-religious oriented approach”. For Muslims this multifaceted approach is discussed in the “Islam and human rights” discourse. Islam is the central common element among all Muslim states for establishing a human rights system. In this regard, the paper provides a survey on traditional Muslim law and its relevance to the concept of rights. In order to provide a better understanding of the relevance of Islam to human rights, the study makes a distinction between the three Islamic concepts of Islamic core principles/values, Muslim legal traditions, and Shariah. In line with this distinction the CDHR, as the most well-known contemporary source of Islam and human rights, is discussed.

* Dr. Kamran Hashemi is a Human Rights and International Law Lecturer at Iranian
universities and Former Director of the Non-Aligned Movement for Human Rights and Cultural
Diversity (


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