27 NGOs object to proposed Arab Court for Human Rights
The National Organization for Human Rights logo
By RANDA EL-BANNA

CAIRO: The National Organization for Human Rights in Bahrain held a conference from May 25-26, where regional and international organizations including the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council along with human rights experts and NGOs discussed international and regional issues in addition to establishing the proposed Arab Court for Human Rights, MENA reported.

But, according to a statement issued on Friday by Human Rights Watch and signed by 27 human rights organizations, the law draft of the proposed Arab Court for Human Rights is not realistic as it does not allow the repressed to complain directly to the proposed court.

“Our organizations strongly urge member States to amend the draft statute so as to provide for the possibility of individual victims to have direct recourse to the court. The very raison d’être of a regional human rights court is to ensure individuals access to justice and to guarantee their rights to effective remedies and to reparation for violations,” HRW said in the statement. “By omitting not only this right, but also any means by which individuals can access the Arab Court, the current draft [statute] defeats the very purpose and objective of establishing this Court”

HRW took particular issue with elements of the draft law that did not ensure a court host country was itself complying with international human rights laws, and that state signees to the draft law would even allow their citizens to submit cases to the court. HRW was also unhappy with elements of the draft law that it said prevented human rights groups from submitting cases on the behalf of individuals to the court.

HRW urged the Arab League and those responsible for the draft law not to adopt it until there is a clear dialogue with human rights organizations and NGOs to get real results that can help regain people’s rights.

NGOs who signed this statement were:

AMAN NETWORK for Rehabilitation and Defending Human Rights

Amman Center for Human Rights Studies

Al Haq

Amnesty International

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights

Bahrain Forum for Human Rights

Bahrain Human Rights Observatory

Bahrain Human Rights Society

Bahrain Transparency Society

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights “Hurryyat”

Doustourna – Tunisia

Gulf Center for Human Rights

Gulf Civil Society Associations Forum

Human Rights Information and Training Center

Human Rights Watch

International Commission of Jurists

International Federation for Human Rights

Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center

Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture

Legal Agenda

Lualua Center for Human Rights

Ligue Djiboutienne des Droit Humains

Open Society Foundations – Arab Regional Office

Palestinian Human Rights Organization

Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies

Sudanese Human Rights Monitor

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