Just Leave Us Alone: The Arab League and Human Rights
Vera van Hüllen – 2015
Compared with a global trend towards governance transfer by regional organizations, the League of Arab States is clearly a latecomer in prescribing and promoting governance standards in its member states — and its efforts are more limited and weaker than in many other regional organizations (Börzel and Stapel in this volume). While the Arab League started to deal with selected human rights issues in the late 1960s, an Arab Charter on Human Rights as the cornerstone of a regional human rights regime only entered into force in 2008 — much later than its American, European, and African counterparts. Continental organizations like the Organization of American States (OAS), the Council of Europe (CoE), and the Organization for African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union (AU), had developed regional human rights regimes early on. Moreover, many regional organizations worldwide turned to more actively prescribing and promoting standards related to human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and good governance in the 1990s. By contrast, only in the 21st century has the Arab League begun to step up its efforts at governance transfer. It focuses on human rights as compared with democracy, the rule of law, or good governance, but even the catalogue of human rights adopted in 2004 falls short of international standards, and the Arab Human Rights Committee has only a limited mandate for its promotion and protection.