Governments of the member States of the League of Arab States:
Given the Arab nation's belief in
human dignity since God honoured it by making the Arab World the
cradle of religions and the birthplace of civilizations which
confirmed its right to a life of dignity based on freedom, justice
Pursuant to the eternal principles
of brotherhood and equality among all human beings which were
firmly established by the Islamic Shari'a and the other
Being proud of the humanitarian
values and principles which it firmly established in the course of
its long history and which played a major role in disseminating
centres of learning between the East and the West, thereby making
it an international focal point for seekers of knowledge, culture
Conscious of the fact that the
entire Arab World has always worked together to preserve its
faith, believing in its unity, struggling to protect its freedom,
defending the right of nations to self-determination and to
safeguard their resources, believing in the rule of law and that
every individual's enjoyment of freedom, justice and equality of
opportunity is the yardstick by which the merits of any society
Rejecting racism and zionism,
which constitute a violation of human rights and pose a threat to
Acknowledging the close
interrelationship between human rights and world peace,
Reaffirming the principles of the
Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, as well as the provisions of the United Nations
International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Cairo Declaration on
Human Rights in Islam (4)
In confirmation of all the above,
have agreed as follows :
(a) All peoples have the right of
self-determination and control over their natural wealth and
resources and, accordingly, have the right to freely determine the
form of their political structure and to freely pursue their
economic, social and cultural development.
(b) Racism, zionism, occupation
and foreign domination pose a challenge to human dignity and
constitute a fundamental obstacle to the realization of the basic
rights of peoples. There is a need to condemn and endeavour to
eliminate all such practices.
Each State Party to the present
Charter undertakes to ensure to all individuals within its
territory and subject to its Jurisdiction the right to enjoy all
the rights and freedoms recognized herein, without any distinction
on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other
status and without any discrimination between men and women.
(a) No restriction upon or
derogation from any of the fundamental human rights recognized or
existing in any State Party to the present Charter in virtue of
law, conventions or custom shall be admitted on the pretext that
the present Charter does not recognize such rights or that it
recognizes them to a lesser extent.
(b) No State Party to the present
Charter shall derogate from the fundamental freedoms recognized
herein and which are enjoyed by the nationals of another State
that shows less respect for those freedoms.
(a) No restrictions shall be
placed on the rights and freedoms recognized in the present
Charter except where such is provided by law and deemed necessary
to protect the national security and economy, public order, health
or morals or the rights and freedoms of others.
(b) In time of public emergency
which threatens the life of the nation, the States Parties may
take measures derogating from their obligations under the present
Charter to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the
(c) Such measures or derogations
shall under no circumstances affect or apply to the rights and
special guarantees concerning the prohibition of torture and
degrading treatment, return to one's country, political asylum,
trial, the inadmissibility of retrial for the same act, and the
legal status of crime and punishment.
Every individual has the right to
life, liberty and security of person. These rights shall be
protected by law.
There shall be no crime or
punishment except as provided by law and there shall be no
punishment in respect of an act preceding the promulgation of that
provision. The accused shall benefit from subsequent legislation
if it is in his favour.
The accused shall be presumed
innocent until proved guilty at a lawful trial in which he has
enjoyed the guarantees necessary for his defence.
Everyone has the right to liberty
and security of person and no one shall be arrested, held in
custody or detained without a legal warrant and without being
brought promptly before a judge.
All persons are equal before the
law and everyone within the territory of the State has a
guaranteed right to legal remedy.
The death penalty may be imposed
only for the most serious crimes and anyone sentenced to death
shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the
The death penalty shall under no
circumstances be imposed for a political offence.
The death penalty shall not be
inflicted on a person under 18 years of age, on a pregnant woman
prior to her delivery or on a nursing mother within two years from
the date on which she gave birth.
(a) The States parties shall
protect every person in their territory from being subjected to
physical or mental torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment. They shall take effective measures to prevent such acts
and shall regard the practice thereof, or participation therein,
as a punishable offence.
(b) No medical or scientific
experimentation shall be carried out on any person without his
No one shall be imprisoned on the
ground of his proven inability to meet a debt or fulfil any civil
Persons sentenced to a penalty of
deprivation of liberty shall be treated with humanity.
No one shall be tried twice for
the same offence.
Anyone against whom such
proceedings are brought shall have the right to challenge their
legality and to demand his release.
Anyone who is the victim of
unlawful arrest or detention shall be entitled to compensation.
Privacy shall be inviolable and
any infringement thereof shall constitute an offence. This privacy
includes private family affairs, the inviolability of the home and
the confidentiality of correspondence and other private means of
Everyone shall have the inherent
right to recognition as a person before the law.
The people are the source of
authority and every citizen of full legal age shall have the right
of political participation, which he shall exercise in accordance
with the law.
Every individual residing within
the territory of a State shall have the right to liberty of
movement and freedom to choose his place of residence in any part
of the said territory, within the limits of the law.
No citizen shall be arbitrarily or
unlawfully prevented from leaving any Arab country, including his
own, nor prohibited from residing, or compelled to reside, in any
part of his country.
No citizen shall be expelled from
his country or prevented from returning thereto.
Every citizen shall have the right
to seek political asylum in other countries in order to escape
persecution. This right shall not be enjoyed by persons facing
prosecution for an offence under the ordinary law. Political
refugees shall not be extraditable.
No citizen shall be arbitrarily
deprived of his original nationality, nor shall his right to
acquire another nationality be denied without a legally valid
Every citizen has a guaranteed
right to own private property. No citizen shall under any
circumstances be divested of all or any part of his property in an
arbitrary or unlawful manner.
Everyone has a guaranteed right to
freedom of belief, thought and opinion.
Adherents of every religion have
the right to practise their religious observances and to manifest
their views through expression. practice or teaching, without
prejudice to the rights of others. No restrictions shall be
imposed on the exercise of freedom of belief, thought and opinion
except as provided by law.
All citizens have the right to
freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No restrictions
shall be placed on the exercise of this right unless so required
by the exigencies of national security, public safety or the need
to protect the rights and freedoms of others.
The State guarantees the right to
form trade unions and the right to strike within the limits laid
down by law.
The State guarantees every
citizen's right to work in order to secure for himself a standard
of living that meets the basic requirements of life. The State
also guarantees every citizen's right to comprehensive social
Free choice of work is guaranteed
and forced labour is prohibited. Compelling a person to perform
work under the terms of a court judgement shall not be deemed to
constitute forced labour.
The State shall ensure that its
citizens enjoy equality of opportunity in regard to work, as well
as a fair wage and equal remuneration for work of equal value.
Every citizen shall have the right
of access to public office in his country.
The eradication of illiteracy is a
binding obligation and every citizen has a right to education.
Primary education, at the very least, shall be compulsory and free
and both secondary and university education shall be made easily
accessible to all.
Citizens have a right to live in
an intellectual and cultural environment in which Arab nationalism
is a source of pride, in which human rights are sanctified and in
which racial, religious and other forms of discrimination are
rejected and international cooperation and the cause of world
peace are supported.
Everyone has the right to
participate in cultural life, as well as the right to enjoy
literary and artistic works and to be given opportunities to
develop his artistic, intellectual and creative talents.
Minorities shall not be deprived
of their right to enjoy their culture or to follow the teachings
of their religions.
(a) The family is the basic unit
of society, whose protection it shall enjoy.
(b) The State undertakes to
provide outstanding care and special protection for the family,
mothers, children and the aged.
Young persons have the right to be
afforded the most ample opportunities for physical and mental
(a) The States members of the
League's Council which are parties to the Charter shall elect a
Committee of Experts on Human Rights by secret ballot.
(b) The Committee shall consist of
seven members nominated by the member States Parties to the
Charter. The initial elections to the Committee shall be held six
months after the Charter's entry into force. The Committee shall
not include more than one person from the same State.
(c) The Secretary-General shall
request the member States to submit their candidates two months
before the scheduled date of the elections.
(d) The candidates, who must be
highly experienced and competent in the Committee's field of work,
shall serve in their personal capacity with full impartiality and
(e) The Committee's members shall
be elected for a three-year term which, in the case of three of
them, shall be renewable for one further term, their names being
selected by lot. The principle of rotation shall be observed as
far as possible.
(f) The Committee shall elect its
chairman and shall draw up its rules of procedure specifying its
method of operation.
(g) Meetings of the Committee
shall be convened by the Secretary-General at the Headquarters of
the League's Secretariat. With the Secretary-General's approval,
the Committee may also meet in another Arab country if the
exigencies of its work so require.
1. The States Parties shall submit
reports to the Committee of Experts on Human Rights in the
following manner :
(a) An initial report one year
after the date of the Charter's entry into force.
(b) Periodic reports every three
(c) Reports containing the replies
of 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 provisions of paragraph 1 of this article.
3. The Committee shall submit a
report, together with the views and comments of the States, to the
Standing Committee on Human Rights at the Arab League.
(a) The Secretary-General of the
League of Arab States shall submit the present Charter, after its
approval by the Council of the League, to the member States for
signature and ratification or accession.
(b) The present Charter shall
enter into effect two months after the date of deposit of the
seventh instrument of ratification or accession with the
Secretariat of the League of Arab States.
Following its entry into force,
the present Charter shall become binding on each State two months
after the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification or
accession with the Secretariat. The Secretary-General shall notify
the member States of the deposit of each instrument of
ratification or accession."
(1) The Charter was adopted by the
Council of the League of Arab States by its resolution 5437 (102nd
regular session) on 15 September 1994. The original text may be
obtained from the League of Arab States, Permanent Delegation to
the United Nations in Geneva, 9 rue du Valais, CH-1202 Geneva.
(2) Translation by the United
Nations, obtained from the Centre for Human Rights in Geneva. A
French translation made by Mohammed Amin AI-Midani has been
published in RUDH, Vol. 7 (1995), p. 212 ff.
(3) The 22 member States of the
League of Arab States are : Jordan. United Arab Emirates, Bahrain,
Tunisia, Algeria, Djibouti. Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab
Republic. Somalia. Iraq, Oman. Palestine, Qatar, Comoros, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania,
(4) Adopted on 5 August 1990.