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Arab Rights Charter Deviates From Int'l Standards

Arab rights charter deviates from international standards, says UN official

30 January 2008 - The Arab Charter on Human Rights contains provisions that do not meet international norms and standards, including the application of the death penalty for children, the treatment of women and non-citizens and the equating of Zionism with racism, the United Nations human rights chief said today.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour issued a statement saying that her office "does not endorse these inconsistencies [and] we continue to work with all stakeholders in the region to ensure the implementation of universal human rights norms."

The Arab Charter entered into force earlier this month after seven countries ratified the text, prompting Ms. Arbour to release a statement last Thursday in which she noted that while human rights are universal, "regional systems of promotion and protection can further help strengthen the enjoyment of human rights."

Ms. Arbour said today that throughout the development of the Charter, her office shared concerns with the drafters about the incompatibility of some 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."

ENDS

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