THE TANDEM PROJECT
UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS WELCOMES RATIFICATION
BRINGING INTO FORCE ARAB CHARTER ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Issue: Human Rights Instruments: Arab Charter on Human Rights; Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam; Article 18 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the 1981 United Nations Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
Review: High Commissioner For Human Rights Welcomes Ratification Bringing Into Force Arab Charter on Human Rights, is a press release issues by the United Nations, Geneva, 24 January 2008, welcoming the ratification requirements to bring the Arab Charter on Human Rights into Force. The 22 Member States of the League of Arab States have membership in the 57 Member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In the Word Document attached The Tandem Project compares The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, with International Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief as understood by documents under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this review, The Tandem Project adds The Arab Charter on Human Rights as an instrument for dialogue on all three landmark documents.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her press
release, said her office “is committed and stands ready to support the States
Parties to the Charter in ensuring that core values of human rights are upheld.
Dialogue on the core values of human rights was asserted by United Nations
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations backed Alliance of
Civilizations Forum held in
Objective: Build understanding and support for Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights –Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Encourage the United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media and Civil Society to use these international human rights standards that may be essential for long-term solutions to conflicts based on religion or belief.
Challenge: In 1968 the United Nations deferred work on an International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Religious Intolerance, because of its apparent complexity and sensitivity. In the twenty-first century, a dramatic increase of intolerance and discrimination on grounds of religion or belief is motivating a worldwide search to find solutions to these problems. This is a challenge calling for enhanced dialogue by States and others; including consideration of an International Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief for protection of and accountability by all religions or beliefs. The tensions in today’s world inspire a question such as:
Extracts: Extracts are presented under the Eight Articles of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Examples of extracts are presented prior to an Issues Statement for each Review.
4. 1 All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR
WELCOMES RATIFICATION BRINGING
INTO FORCE ARAB CHARTER
ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, issued the following
Geneva, 24 January 2008-- In this celebratory year of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I welcome the 7th ratification required to bring the Arab Charter on Human Rights into force.
All States have ratified at least one, and 80% of States have ratified four or more, of the core international human rights treaties giving concrete expression to the universality of human rights. Regional systems of promotion and protection can further help strengthen the enjoyment of human rights, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights is an important step forward in this direction.
The next vital step will be to ensure that the body that will monitor the Charter, the Arab Committee for Human Rights, is independent and properly resourced so as to be effective and efficient. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is committed and stands ready to support the States Parties to the Charter in ensuring that core values of human rights are upheld. – UN Press Release.
of Arab States, Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights, May 22, 2004, reprinted in 12 Int'l Hum. Rts. Rep. 893
Arab Charter on Human Rights
Based on the faith of the Arab nation in the dignity of the human person whom God has exalted ever since the beginning of creation and in the fact that the Arab homeland is the cradle of religions and civilizations whose lofty human values affirm the human right to a decent life based on freedom, justice and equality,
In furtherance of the eternal principles of fraternity, equality and tolerance among human beings consecrated by the noble Islamic religion and the other divinely-revealed religions,
Being proud of the humanitarian values and principles that the Arab nation has established throughout its long history, which have played a major role in spreading knowledge between East and West, so making the region a point of reference for the whole world and a destination for seekers of knowledge and wisdom,
Believing in the unity of the Arab nation, which struggles for its freedom and defends the right of nations to self-determination, to the preservation of their wealth and to development; believing in the sovereignty of the law and its contribution to the protection of universal and interrelated human rights and convinced that the human person's enjoyment of freedom, justice and equality of opportunity is a fundamental measure of the value of any society,
Rejecting all forms of racism and Zionism, which constitute a violation of human rights and a threat to international peace and security, recognizing the close link that exists between human rights and international peace and security, reaffirming the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and having regard to the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam,
The States parties to the Charter have agreed as follows: [for the 53 Articles of The Arab Charter on Human Rights that follow this Preamble see the attached Word Document].
ISSUE STATEMENT: The Arab League was founded in
The International Covenants, Conventions and Optional Protocols are international human rights instruments that are universal and indivisible. These international treaty laws are subjects of concern as well among the fifty-three Articles of The Arab Charter on Human Rights and the twenty-five Articles of The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. The 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination is connected indivisibly with these issues, but its primary focus is on religion or belief, explanations of the ultimate meaning of life and how to live accordingly. This is the focus on a core belief that failed to achieve consensus and led to a vote in 2007 in the United Nations Human Rights Council over the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. See Word Document, UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
In 1968, the United Nations General Assembly due to the sensitivity and complexity of a legally-binding treaty on religion, deferred work on a draft Convention on Religious Intolerance. Author Sam Harris has given this explanation, “Religion raises the stakes of human conflict much higher than tribalism, racism, or politics ever can, as it is the only form of in-group/out-group thinking that casts the differences between people in terms of eternal rewards and punishments.” The recent address by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to the United Nations backed Alliance of Civilizations Forum is prophetic; “Never in our lifetime has there been a more desperate need for constructive and committed dialogue, among individuals, among communities, among cultures, among and between nations.”
To reply to this Issue Statement open The Tandem Project Country & Community Database link for the 1981 UN Declaration and scroll to: Article 4.1.
The Tandem Project: a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1986 to build understanding and respect for diversity of religion or belief, and prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project has sponsored multiple conferences, curricula, reference materials and programs on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. The Tandem Project initiative was launched in 1986 as the result of a co-founder representing the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) at a 1984 United Nations Geneva Seminar, Encouragement of Understanding, Tolerance and Respect in Matters Relating to Freedom of Religion or Belief, called by the UN Secretariat on ways to implement the 1981 UN Declaration. In 1986, The Tandem Project organized the first NGO International Conference on the 1981 UN Declaration.
The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights First Preamble reads as follows: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. The principle suggests all States recalling their history, culture and constitution, provide equal protection by law for theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. This is international treaty law under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief may become essential for long term solutions to conflicts based on religion or belief.
The Tandem Project Executive Director: Michael M. Roan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations