Islam and Intra-Muslim Regional Human Rights Mechanisms
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