UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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STATEMENT BY UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE ARAB CHARTER ON HUMAN RIGHTS



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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, issued the following statement today:

Geneva, 30 January 2008-- On 24 January 2008 (incorrectly issued as 24 March statement), I welcomed the 7th ratification required to bring the Arab Charter on Human Rights into force. While emphasizing universal human rights, I noted that regional systems of protection and promotion can help further strengthen the enjoyment of human rights. As the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action affirmed “regional arrangements play a fundamental role in promoting and protecting human rights. They should reinforce universal human rights standards, as contained in international human rights instruments, and their protection.”

Throughout the development of the Arab Charter, my office shared concerns with the drafters about the incompatibility of some of its provisions with international norms and standards. These concerns included the approach to death penalty for children and the rights of women and non-citizens. Moreover, to the extent that it equates Zionism with racism, we reiterated that the Arab Charter is not in conformity with General Assembly Resolution 46/86, which rejects that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination. OHCHR does not endorse these inconsistencies. We continue to work with all stakeholders in the region to ensure the implementation of universal human rights norms.