Arabs think about human rights — but not for Jews or Gays

The Arab LeagueThe Arab League’s Standing Committee on Human Rights approved a draft of the Arab Charter on Human Rights in 2004, and now it is awaiting ratification by the member states.

About time that they recognize such issues, right? Some of the principles in the declaration are these, from Article Two:

(a) All peoples have the right of self-determination and to control over their natural wealth and resources, and the right to freely choose their political system and to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

(b) All peoples have the right to national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

One would think that this would apply to the Jewish People too. We have a movement for self-determination and national sovereignty as well. It’s called Zionism. But (big surprise), the ‘human rights charter’ specifically excludes us:

(c) All forms of racism, Zionism and foreign occupation and domination constitute an impediment to human dignity and a major barrier to the exercise of the fundamental rights of peoples; all such practices must be condemned and efforts must be deployed for their elimination.

I am not sure why all of the Arab League nations have not ratified the Charter. Maybe the government of the Sudan feels that they would have to stop murdering the black residents of Darfur, which could theoretically be considered racism.

A pity, because the Charter includes some very wortwhile provisions, like this, from Article Three:

(a) Each State party to the present Charter undertakes to ensure to all individuals subject to its jurisdiction the right to enjoy the rights and freedoms set forth herein, without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religious belief, opinion, thought, national or social origin, wealth, birth or physical or mental disability.

I suppose that Jews could live in Saudi Arabia — oh wait, it only refers to “individuals subject to its jurisdiction”, and there are presently no Jews in Saudi Arabia because none are allowed! Catch 22. Oh well, at least Egypt and Saudi Arabia would have to stop imprisoning bloggers like Kareem Amer and Fouad al-Farhan for their thoughts and opinions.

And what about this:

(c) Men and women have equal human dignity and equal rights and obligations in the framework of the positive discrimination established in favour of women by the Islamic Shariah and other divine laws and by applicable laws and international instruments. Accordingly, each State party pledges to take all the requisite measures to guarantee equal opportunities and effective equality between men and women in the enjoyment of all the rights set out in this Charter.

I suppose the restrictions on dress, free movement and association, entry into various professions, driving, education, etc. which fall on women in various Arab cultures are all examples of positive discrimination.

Nowhere in the document are homosexuals mentioned. So I suppose that even if it is ratified, Egypt can continue torturing and imprisoning gays, Saudi Arabia can imprison, flog, and even execute homosexuals, and so forth.

Arab human rights, apparently go only so far; no Jews or Gays are included.

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