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Arab Charter on Human rights

Adopted in Cairo on 15 September 1994,
translated from Arabic

The Governments of the member States of Part I

the League of Arab States Article 1
Preamble (a) All peoples have the right of self-
Given the Arab nation's belief in human determination and control over their
dignity since God honoured it by making the natural wealth and resources and, accord-
Arab World the cradle of religions and the ingly, have the right to freely determine
birthplace of civilizations which confirmed the form of their political structure and to
its right to a life of dignity based on free- freely pursue their economic, social and
dom, justice and peace, cultural development.
Pursuant to the eternal principles of broth- (b) Racism, zionism, occupation and foreign
erhood and equality among all human beings domination pose a challenge to human
which were firmly established by the Islamic dignity and constitute a fundamental ob-
Shari'a and the other divinely-revealed relig- stacle to the realization of the basic rights
ions, of peoples. There is a need to condemn
Being proud of the humanitarian values and and endeavour to eliminate all such prac-
principles which it firmly established in the tices.
course of its long history and which played a
major role in disseminating centres of learn- Part II
ing between the East and the West, thereby Article 2
making it an international focal point for Each State Party to the present Charter un-
seekers of knowledge, culture and wisdom, dertakes to ensure to all individuals within its
Conscious of the fact that the entire Arab territory and subject to its Jurisdiction the
World has always worked together to pre- right to enjoy all the rights and freedoms
serve its faith, believing in its unity, strug- recognized herein, without any distinction
gling to protect its freedom, defending the on grounds of race, colour, sex, language,
right of nations to self-determination and to religion, political opinion, national or social
safeguard their resources, believing in the origin, property, birth or other status and
rule of law and that every individual's en- without any discrimination between men
joyment of freedom, justice and equality of and women.
opportunity is the yardstick by which the
merits of any society are gauged, Article 3
Rejecting racism and zionism, which consti- (a) No restriction upon or derogation from
tute a violation of human rights and pose a any of the fundamental human rights
threat to world peace, recognized or existing in any State Party
Acknowledging the close interrelationship to the present Charter in virtue of law,
between human rights and world peace, conventions or custom shall be admitted
Reaffirming the principles of the Charter of on the pretext that the present Charter
the United Nations and the Universal Decla- does not recognize such rights or that it
ration of Human Rights, as well as the pro- recognizes them to a lesser extent.
visions of the United Nations International (b) No State Party to the present Charter
Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and shall derogate from the fundamental
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and freedoms recognized herein and which
the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in are enjoyed by the nationals of another
Islam State that shows less respect for those
In confirmation of all the above, have agreed freedoms.
as follows:


Article 4 everyone within the territory of the State has

(a) No restrictions shall be placed on the a guaranteed right to legal remedy.
rights and freedoms recognized in the
present Charter except where such is Article 10
provided by law and deemed necessary to The death penalty may be imposed only for
protect the national security and econ- the most serious crimes and anyone sen-
omy, public order, health or morals or tenced to death shall have the right to seek
the rights and freedoms of others. pardon or commutation of the sentence.
(b) In time of public emergency which
threatens the life of the nation, the States Article 11
Parties may take measures derogating The death penalty shall under no circum-
from their obligations under the present stances be imposed for a political offence.
Charter to the extent strictly required by
the exigencies of the situation. Article 12
(c) Such measures or derogations shall under The death penalty shall not be inflicted on a
no circumstances affect or apply to the person under 18 years of age, on a pregnant
rights and special guarantees concerning woman prior to her delivery or on a nursing
the prohibition of torture and degrading mother within two years from the date on
treatment, return to one's country, politi- which she gave birth.
cal asylum, trial, the inadmissibility of re-
trial for the same act, and the legal status Article 13
of crime and punishment. (a) The States parties shall protect every per-
son in their territory from being sub-
Article 5 jected to physical or mental torture or
Every individual has the right to life, liberty cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
and security of person. These rights shall be They shall take effective measures to pre-
protected by law. vent such acts and shall regard the prac-
tice thereof, or participation therein, as a
Article 6 punishable offence.
There shall be no crime or punishment ex- (b) No medical or scientific experimentation
cept as provided by law and there shall be no shall be carried out on any person with-
punishment in respect of an act preceding out his free consent.
the promulgation of that provision. The
accused shall benefit from subsequent legis- Article 14
lation if it is in his favour. No one shall be imprisoned on the ground
of his proven inability to meet a debt or ful-
Article 7 fil any civil obligation.
The accused shall be presumed innocent
until proved guilty at a lawful trial in which Article 15
he has enjoyed the guarantees necessary for Persons sentenced to a penalty of depriva-
his defence. tion of liberty shall be treated with humanity.

Article 8 Article 16
Everyone has the right to liberty and security No one shall be tried twice for the same
of person and no one shall be arrested, held offence.
in custody or detained without a legal war- Anyone against whom such proceedings are
rant and without being brought promptly brought shall have the right to challenge
before a judge. their legality and to demand his release.
Anyone who is the victim of unlawful arrest
Article 9 or detention shall be entitled to compensa-
All persons are equal before the law and tion.


Article 17 private property. No citizen shall under any

Privacy shall be inviolable and any infringe- circumstances be divested of all or any part
ment thereof shall constitute an offence. of his property in an arbitrary or unlawful
This privacy includes private family affairs, manner.
the inviolability of the home and the confi-
dentiality of correspondence and other pri- Article 26
vate means of communication. Everyone has a guaranteed right to freedom
of belief, thought and opinion.
Article 18
Everyone shall have the inherent right to Article 27
recognition as a person before the law. Adherents of every religion have the right to
practise their religious observances and to
Article 19 manifest their views through expression,
The people are the source of authority and practice or teaching, without prejudice to the
every citizen of full legal age shall have the rights of others. No restrictions shall be im-
right of political participation, which he shall posed on the exercise of freedom of belief,
exercise in accordance with the law. thought and opinion except as provided by
Article 20
Every individual residing within the territory Article 28
of a State shall have the right to liberty of All citizens have the right to freedom of
movement and freedom to choose his place peaceful assembly and association. No re-
of residence in any part of the said territory, strictions shall be placed on the exercise of
within the limits of the law. this right unless so required by the exigen-
cies of national security, public safety or the
Article 21 need to protect the rights and freedoms of
No citizen shall be arbitrarily or unlawfully others.
prevented from leaving any Arab country,
including his own, nor prohibited from re- Article 29
siding, or compelled to reside, in any part of The State guarantees the right to form trade
his country. unions and the right to strike within the lim-
its laid down by law.
Article 22
No citizen shall be expelled from his country Article 30
or prevented from returning thereto. The State guarantees every citizen's right to
work in order to secure for himself a stan-
Article 23 dard of living that meets the basic require-
Every citizen shall have the right to seek ments of life. The State also guarantees every
political asylum in other countries in order citizen's right to comprehensive social secu-
to escape persecution. This right shall not be rity.
enjoyed by persons facing prosecution for
an offence under the ordinary law. Political Article 31
refugees shall not be extraditable. Free choice of work is guaranteed and
Article 24 forced labour is prohibited. Compelling a
No citizen shall be arbitrarily deprived of his person to perform work under the terms of
original nationality, nor shall his right to a court judgement shall not be deemed to
acquire another nationality be denied with- constitute forced labour.
out a legally valid reason.
Article 32
Article 25 The State shall ensure that its citizens enjoy
Every citizen has a guaranteed right to own equality of opportunity in regard to work, as


well as a fair wage and equal remuneration Part III

for work of equal value. Article 40
(a) The States members of the League's
Article 33 Council which are parties to the Charter
Every citizen shall have the right of access to shall elect a Committee of Experts on
public office in his country. Human Rights by secret ballot.
(b) The Committee shall consist of seven
Article 34 members nominated by the member
The eradication of illiteracy is a binding ob- States Parties to the Charter. The initial
ligation and every citizen has a right to edu- elections to the Committee shall be held
cation. Primary education, at the very least, six months after the Charter's entry into
shall be compulsory and free and both sec- force. The Committee shall not include
ondary and university education shall be more than one person from the same
made easily accessible to all. State.
(c) The Secretary-General shall request the
Article 35 member States to submit their candidates
Citizens have a right to live in an intellectual two months before the scheduled date of
and cultural environment in which Arab the elections.
nationalism is a source of pride, in which (d) The candidates, who must be highly ex-
human rights are sanctified and in which perienced and competent in the Commit-
racial, religious and other forms of discrimi- tee's field of work, shall serve in their
nation are rejected and international coop- personal capacity with full impartiality
eration and the cause of world peace are and integrity.
supported. (e) The Committee's members shall be
elected for a three-year term which, in the
Article 36 case of three of them, shall be renewable
Everyone has the right to participate in cul- for one further term, their names being
tural life, as well as the right to enjoy literary selected by lot. The principle of rotation
and artistic works and to be given opportu- shall be observed as far as possible.
nities to develop his artistic, intellectual and (f) The Committee shall elect its chairman
creative talents. and shall draw up its rules of procedure
specifying its method of operation.
Article 37 (g) Meetings of the Committee shall be con-
Minorities shall not be deprived of their vened by the Secretary-General at the
right to enjoy their culture or to follow the Headquarters of the League's Secretariat.
teachings of their religions. With the Secretary-General's approval,
the Committee may also meet in another
Article 38 Arab country if the exigencies of its work
(a) The family is the basic unit of society, so require.
whose protection it shall enjoy.
(b) The State undertakes to provide out- Article 41
standing care and special protection for 1. The States Parties shall submit reports to
the family, mothers, children and the the Committee of Experts on Human
aged. Rights in the following manner:
(a) An initial report one year after the
Article 39 date of the Charter's entry into force.
Young persons have the right to be afforded (b) Periodic reports every three years.
the most ample opportunities for physical (c) Reports containing the replies of
and mental development. States to the Committee's questions.
2. The Committee shall consider the reports
submitted by the member States Parties


to the Charter in accordance with the Article 43

provisions of paragraph 1 of this article. Following its entry into force, the present
3. The Committee shall submit a report, Charter shall become binding on each State
together with the views and comments of two months after the date of the deposit of
the States, to the Standing Committee on Its instrument of ratification or accession
Human Rights at the Arab League. with the Secretariat. The Secretary-General
shall notify the member States of the deposit
Part IV of each instrument of ratification or acces-
Article 42 sion."
(a) The Secretary-General of the League of
Arab States shall submit the present (1) The 22 member States of the League of
Charter, after its approval by the Council Arab States are : Jordan. United Arab Emir-
of the League, to the member States for ates, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Djibouti.
signature and ratification or accession. Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic.
(b) The present Charter shall enter into ef- Somalia. Iraq, Oman. Palestine, Qatar, Co-
fect two months after the date of deposit moros, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Ja-
of the seventh instrument of ratification mahiriya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania,
or accession with the Secretariat of the Yemen.
League of Arab States. __________________