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a) The Arab plan to foster the culture of human rights (2010)
(Adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States, 28 March 2010)

Annex

The Arab plan to foster the culture of human rights

Preamble

The concern with human rights has become one of the distinguishing features of the present age, given form by a series of international, regional and national initiatives to make the practice of human rights values a reality in daily life. Within this context, the Arab plan represents a joint Arab foundation for fostering the culture of human rights in Arab countries, in line with a comprehensive strategy of several ways of strengthening this culture in order to help social classes, individuals, groups and institutions.

The plan has been drafted to give effect to the proposal of the Kingdom of Morocco calling for the adoption of an Arab plan to foster the culture of human rights and in implementation of the resolution of the Council of the League of Arab States at summit level.

The advisory plan was drawn up on the basis of the participatory approach, bringing together a number of Arab experts and representatives of Member Arab States at a scholarly workshop held in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, on 16-17 December 2009, under the auspices of the Secretariat-General of the League of Arab States (Department of Human Rights) and Kingdom of Morocco (Ministry of Justice) and with technical support from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The plan includes six key elements: the general frame of reference, vision and goals, general principles, scope, working methodology and implementation programme.

The plan is not an alternative to national plans or intended to take their place but represents, together with them, a unified framework and set of guidelines for common themes and goals, which complements, reinforces and furthers the various Arab efforts.

1. General frame of reference of the plan

The general frame of reference of the plan is provided by resolution 486 (30 March 2009) of the 21st ordinary session of the Council of the League of Arab States at summit level. This welcomed the Moroccan proposal on the formulation of an Arab plan to foster the culture of human rights and charged the Secretariat-General, in coordination with Member States and Arab organisations and institutions involved with human rights issues, principally the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights, with preparing a draft Arab plan to foster the culture of human rights, defining its principles, goals and mechanisms and submitting the final version, after endorsement by the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights, to the Council of the League at ministerial level prior to submission to the forthcoming 22nd ordinary session the Council of the League at summit level.

Resolution 7125 (9 September 2009) of the 132nd ordinary session of the Council of the League of Arab States adopted the recommendations of the 27th session of the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights (29 June-2 July 2009), of which item 17, on the formulation of an Arab plan to foster the culture of human rights, stipulated that the Department of Human Rights, in collaboration with the Kingdom of Morocco and those Arab States wishing to participate, shall take charge of preparing the plan, calling upon the assistance of several Arab specialists in this field, and submit it to the next meeting of the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights (January 2010).

Pursuant to approved regional declarations and recommendations:

1. The Arab Charter on Human Rights;

2. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

3. The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (1990);

4. The Rabat Declaration on an Arab Strategy for Human Rights Education (1999);

5. General guidelines for human rights education in Arab States (2006);

6. The Arab Plan for Human Rights Education,

and ratified international declarations and conventions on human rights:

1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948);

2. The International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965);

3. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966);

4. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966);

5. The four Geneva Conventions (1949);

6. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979);

7. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984);

8. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the two additional protocols thereto (2000);

9. Basic conventions on employment and freedom of union organisation;

10. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;

11. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1993);

12. The Declaration on the Right to Development (1984);

13. The Millennium Development Goals;

14. The recommendation concerning education for international understanding, cooperation and peace and education relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms adopted by the 18th session of the General Conference of UNESCO (1974);

15. Declaration on education for peace, human rights and democracy approved by the international conference on education and adopted by the 28th session of the General Conference of UNESCO (1995);

16. Resolution A/RES/49/184 of the General Assembly of the United Nations declaring the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education 1995-2004;

17. The World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-2007).

2. Vision and goals

To strengthen the culture of human rights in the Arab world and ensure the enjoyment thereof by all individuals, groups and classes. The following goals proceed from this vision:

1. To develop awareness of human rights among the members of society and strive to provide them with and to defend these rights;

2. To provide information on regulations and measures which protect human rights;

3. To foster human rights in all areas of employment;

4. To inform employees in all areas of employment of their duties vis-à-vis the human rights of all members of society and to provide them with human rights training;

5. To foster elements of judicial statutes, penal measures and regulations relating to human rights;

6. To provide training in ways and means of helping to protect human rights;

7. To plant the values and principles of human rights in the minds of children and young people;

8. To foster Arab efforts to strengthen and protect human rights to stand up to the violations endured by their brother Arabs in the occupied Arab territories;

9. To elaborate indicators to determine Joint Arab Action priorities in respect of human rights;

10. To strengthen positive commitment to international and regional human rights standards and strive to spread awareness and understanding of human rights at all levels, in collaboration with Member States;

11. To strive to address common challenges, such as poverty, hunger, illiteracy, unemployment, international and internal armed conflict and debt, which prevent full and genuine enjoyment of human rights and basic freedoms by individuals, groups and classes in Arab countries.

3. General principles

  • The tolerant message of Islam, the values on which the revealed religions are based and the values of Arab civilisation;
  • The system of fundamental values and principles of human rights (liberty, justice, equality and non-discrimination);
  • The fundamentals of democracy, consultation and national participation;
  • Sound governance;
  • Human rights-based development;
  • The fundamentals of national terms of reference.

4. Scope

1. To establish and support structures and frameworks to foster the culture of human rights;

2. To harmonise national legislation with international human rights standards and the Arab Charter on Human Rights;

3. To spread and further the culture of human rights through the following five approaches:

  • Human rights education;
  • Human rights training;
  • Human rights awareness;
  • Communication and the media in human rights;
  • Concern with the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities.

5. Working methodology

a. Definition of priorities, in accordance with the following bases and rules:

1. Human rights to be considered as an indivisible whole, with each having the same degree of importance;

2. Priority to be accorded to rights bearing on the broadest cross-section of people, with due regard to persons with disabilities;

3. Restrictions on recognised rights to be removed;

4. Human rights to be accorded the priority they deserve in all State endeavours;

5. Rules of responsibility to be adopted in evaluating the performance of those in charge of plan implementation;

b. Mode of working

1. Adoption of clear and effective institutional frameworks to implement the plan at national and pan-Arab levels;

2. Attracting national talent capable of achieving the desired goals;

3. Allocation of adequate funding;

4. Distribution of roles among partners;

5. Formulation of special, detailed implementation programmes for all plan activities;

6. Generalising successful experiments and applications to other sectors in the country;

7. Adoption of quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure the extent of achievement of goals.

6. Implementation programme

 The implementation programme will be based on six elements, to be implemented in three phases:

  • Time-frame

Implementation of the plan will begin in 2011 and continue until the end of 2015;

  • Roles

The plan shall be implemented with a broad spectrum of partners and backers whose goals are in harmony with the goals of the plan. It shall include partnerships, alliances and financial, technical and specialist support from the following bodies:

1. Member States of the League of Arab States;

2. The Secretariat-General, ministerial councils and specialist committees of the League of Arab States;

3. Friendly States;

4. National, regional and international federations, organisations and alliances;

5. All bodies, programmes and agencies of the United Nations system;

6. National and international non-governmental organisations working in the fields of development and human rights;

7. National committees and institutions working to strengthen and protect human rights;

8. Arab and international funds and agencies;

9. Consultancy firms and research and development centres;

10. The Arab private sector;

11. Able and willing bodies from target groups;

  • Activities

The plan will seek to achieve its goals by means of carefully studied activities over the three phases, including:

  • Preparation phase

1. Adoption of detailed action plans to achieve the goals of the plan;

2. Training in and raising awareness of the human rights-based approach to development;

3. Drawing up a code of conduct manual for staff in Arab States (persons charged with applying the law) to observe human rights requirements in their work;

4. Strengthening regional ties in the field of human rights;

5. Preparing and launching an Arab programme in support of non-governmental organisations working in human rights, and cooperating with existing programmes;

6. Encouraging the establishment and strengthening of national institutions and committees concerned with fostering and protecting human rights;

7. Preparing draft, model laws on priority human rights topics;

8. Supporting the preparation and adoption of national plans to foster human rights;

9. Adopting guidelines for the formulation of a national human rights plan;

10. Fostering and promoting the roles of Arab committees and bodies concerned with the occupied Arab territories;

  • Implementation and follow-up phase

1. Creation of mechanisms and adoption of standards for the drafting and submission of reports to treaty bodies;

2. Preparation of studies covering human rights in Islam;

3. Strengthening regional human rights action ties to complement the Arab action framework;

4. Making use of relevant international and regional occasions (days, years, decades etc.) to provide information on and publicise human rights;

5. Creating permanent forms of action and coordination between Arab national institutions concerned with the strengthening and protection of human rights;

6. Monitoring human rights violations in the occupied Arab territories and addressing these in accordance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law;

7. Fostering Arab corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the protection and fostering of human rights;

  • Evaluation phase

States shall prepare periodic reports measuring progress in applying the plan and submit these to the Arab Standing Committee on Human Rights.

  • Tools

1.  National legislation;

2.  International conventions;

3.  Inter-Arab conventions;

4.  Model laws;

5.  Workshops and training courses;

6.  Training manuals;

7.  National plans;

8.  Bulletins and printed materials;

9.  Studies and surveys;

10. Institution-building;

11. The media;

12. Funding;

13. Competitions, prizes and awards;

14. Monitoring and control mechanisms and teams;

15. National and international reports;

  • Funding

The sources of plan funding shall be diversified, in line with the estimated need of each State, and shall include:

1. Allocations set aside in the general budget of the State;

2. Support from international and regional organisations;

3. Support from the national private sector on the basis of corporate social responsibility;

4. Returns on environment and human rights-related investments;

5. Donations and aid from individuals;

  • Indicators measuring the achievement of goals

These are quantitative and qualitative indicators such as:

1. Indicator of accession to various international and regional human rights conventions;

2. Indicator of commitment to submitting reports to Arab and international bodies;

3. Indicator of the number of beneficiaries from plan activities;

4. Indicator of the extent of achievement of plan goals.

The proposal to hold an Arab cultural summit

The Council of the League of Arab States at summit level,

Having studied the memorandum of the Secretariat-General and the initiative of the Arab Thought Foundation,

Resolves

1. To approve in principle the convening of an Arab cultural summit at a suitable time to allow preparations to be made;

2. That the Secretariat-General call upon the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) to hold an extraordinary meeting of Arab ministers of culture to prepare for this summit.