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Arab Court of Human Rights

The League of Arab States is planning to establish a pan-Arab court of human rights that, according to Bahrain’s foreign minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, would “keep pace with the aspirations of the Arab peoples” and be “a quantum leap forward and major step for human rights in the region and the Arab world.”

While the establishment of this court seems like an important step in promoting and protecting basic human rights in the region, many have already dismissed it as nothing more than a public relations stunt. Human rights activists and international organizations are already saying that the court would be used as a political tool and lacks the statutory jurisdiction to hold states accountable.

The draft statute, to be submitted for approval by the Arab League’s Ministerial Council in September 2014, has been highly criticized for falling short of international standards particularly with regards to its accessibility and the nomination of judges. Under the current terms of the statute, victims of human rights abuses would not have direct recourse to the court. Instead, Article 19 of the draft statute would permit party states to approach the court when citizens claim that their human rights have been violated. State parties would also have the option, at their discretion, to allow NGOs to submit cases on behalf of individual complainants.


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