Middle East and North Africa

In the Middle East and North Africa (or Arab States), a newly-created monitoring body, the Arab Human Rights Committee, was established in 2009 to oversee compliance with the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which entered into force in March 2008.  An English-language translation of the Charter, drafted under the auspices of the League of Arab States, is available from the University of Minnesota. As of February 2015, there were 14 States parties to the Arab Charter: Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The Charter does not provide for a complaints mechanism, but rather establishes a process through which the Committee receives and reviews State reports (to be submitted every three years) and makes recommendations as deemed appropriate. State reports and “shadow reports” submitted by other stakeholders can be viewed on the Committee’s website.

Members of civil society have criticized the Committee for failing to make available on its website information pertaining to its procedures and activities, and for not engaging with non-governmental organizations.

For additional information, see Mervat Rishmawi, The Arab Charter on Human Rights and the League of Arab States: An Update, Human Rights Law Review 10:1 (2010), 169-178, available for paid download.