Arab Charter on Human Rights

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Second Version of the 1994 Arab Charter on Human Rights, adopted by the League of Arab States on May 23, 2004 during the Arab Summit in Tunisia. Entered into force on January 15, 2008.

Relevant Provisions of the Arab Charter on Human Rights

Article 3

1. Obligation of each State Party to undertake to ensure to all individual within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights and freedoms recognized in the Arab Charter, without any distinction on grounds of race, color, sex, language, religion, opinion, thought, national or social origin, property, birth or physical or mental disability.

2. Obligation of each State Party to undertake necessary measures to guarantee effective equality in the enjoyment of all rights and liberties established in the Arab Charter, so as to protect from all forms of discrimination based on any reason aforementioned.

3. Men and women are equal in human dignity, in rights and in duties, within the framework of the positive discrimination established in favor of women by Islamic Shari’ah and other divine law, legislations and international instruments. Each State Party undertakes all necessary measure to guarantee the effective equality between men and women.

Article 5

Right to life. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

Articles 6 & 7

Infliction of death penalty for the most serious crimes only, in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime. The death penalty shall not be inflicted to persons under 18, nor to pregnant or nursering women.

Article 8

Right not to be subjected to physical or mental torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Article 11

Right to equal protection of the law, without discrimination.

Article 12

Right of all persons to be equal before the courts. States shall ensure the independence of the courts.

Right to a legal remedy.

Article 13

1. Right to a fair trial by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal. States shall ensure financial aid to those without the necessary means to pay for legal assistance.

2. Right to public hearings, unless the interests of justice require otherwise in a democratic society which respects freedom and fundamental rights.

Article 14

1. Right to liberty and security of person. Right to be free from arbitrary arrest, search or detention.

2. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law.

3. Right to be informed of reasons for the arrest and of the charges, in a language that the person understands. Right to contact relatives after the arrest.

4. Right for the person arrested to be subjected to a medical examination, and to be informed of such a right.

5. Right for anyone arrested or detained to be brought promptly before a judge or other authorized officer authorized by law, and should be entitled to trial within a reasonable time, or to release. It shall not be a general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be held in custody.

6. Right to take proceedings before a court in order that a court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of the arrest or detention.

7. Right to compensation for victims of unlawful arrest or detention.

Article 15

Legality principle: no crimes nor punishment without law.

Article 16

Presumption of innocence: During the investigation and the trial, the accused shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees:

1. To be informed promptly and in detail, in a language he understands, of the charges against him.

2. To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense and to contact his relatives.

3. To be tried in his presence in front of a judge, to defend himself or to benefit from the assistance of a lawyer, with whom he can freely and confidentially communicate.

4. To have free legal assistance of a lawyer, and of an interpreter when required, if he has no sufficient means to pay.

5. To examine/have examined the witnesses against him.

6. Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess to guilt;

7. To have right to appeal a conviction and sentencing for crime.

8. To have security of his person and his private life respected in all circumstances.

Article 17

Each State Party shall ensure a special legal regime for minors during the hearing, the trial, and the application of judgment.

Article 18

No one shall be imprisoned on the ground of his proven inability to meet a debt or fulfill any civil obligation.

Article 19

1. No one shall be tried twice for the same offense. Anyone against whom such proceedings are brought shall have the right to challenge their legality and to demand his release.

2. Anyone whose innocence has been established by a final judgment shall be entitled to compensation for damages suffered.

Article 20

1. Right of prisoners to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

2. Right for accused to be kept separate from convicted persons and to receive appropriate treatment.

3. The essential aim of the penitentiary system is the reformation and social rehabilitation of prisoners.

Article 21

1. Right to be protected against arbitrary interference in his privacy, family, home or correspondence, or from unlawful attacks against his honor and reputation.

2. Right to protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 22

Right to be recognized as a person before the law.

Article 23

Right to an effective remedy against a violation of any rights or freedoms protected in the Charter.

Article 24

1. Freedom of political activity.

5. Right to form associations with others and to join associations.

6. Freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Article 27

Right not to be arbitrarily or unlawfully prevented from leaving any country, including his own, nor prohibited from residing, or compelled to reside, in any part of his country.

Article 29

Right not to be deprived arbitrarily from his nationality without a legally valid reason.

Article 30

Freedom of thought, belief and religion.

Article 31

Right to own private property and not to be arbitrarily or unlawfully divested of all or any part of his property.

Status of Signature and Ratification of the Arab Charter on Human Rights[1]

Country Signature Ratification
Algeria 2 August 2004 11 June 2006
Bahrain - 18 June 2006
Comoros - -
Djibouti - -
Egypt - -
Iraq - -
Jordan - 28 October 2004
Kuwait - -
Lebanon - -
Libya - 7 August 2006
Mauritania - -
Morocco - -
Oman - -
Occupied Palestinian Territories - 28 November 2007
Qatar - -
Saudi Arabia - -
Somalia - -
Sudan - -
Syria - 6 February 2007
Tunisia - -
United Arab Emirates - 15 January 2008
Yemen - -

See International Law