Human rights in Islamic countries
Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam
Some countries with majority Muslim populations have tried to introduce the concept of Islamic human rights. The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI), adopted by the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in 1990, provides an overview on the Islamic perspective on human rights, and affirms Islamic law (Shari'ah) as its sole source. CDHRI declares its purpose to be "general guidance for Member States [of the OIC] in the Field of human rights". This declaration is usually seen as an Islamic response to the post-World War II United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948. However, even these more limited rights are mostly ignored or patchily implemented. In particular, the Cairo Declaration does little to assure the rights of religious minorities in Islamic dominated countries. Changing religion to leave Islam is defined as apostasy and may be punished severely.
The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia is considered to be very poor. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy which is ruled by the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia is a center for Islamic fundamentalism and the Wahabi sect institutes the practice of Sharia law which involves the use of punishment. Public executions are held regularly and involve decapitation, firing squads, and stoning. Women and men who commit adultery are stoned to death. Women are forced conceal their body in public, be escorted by a man in public and are not allowed to drive.
The human rights situation in Pakistan is generally regarded as poor by domestic and international observers. Pakistan is a center of Islamic fundamentalism. The human rights record of Pakistan was particularly grave under the dictatorship of the US-supported General Zia. General Zia introduced Sharia Law which led to Islamization of the country. The current regime in Pakistan has been responsible for torture, extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations. Honor killings are also common in Pakistan.
Turkey is one of only two countries with a majority Muslim population to have a secular democracy. Turkey has been harshly criticized for its human rights record, which has kept it from joining the European Union. Great damage was done to Turkish attempts to join the European Union when Turkish author Orhan Parmuk was arrested and put on trial for speaking to a Swiss newspaper about his belief that Turkey should take responsibility for the murder of 1.5 million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds. He was finally released after intense international pressure. Since then, Turkey has come under pressure for its alleged imprisonment and torture of individuals that oppose the government.
The human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran is considered to be poor. The Islamic revolution brought a reign of terror where many thousands of Iranians who were associated with the Shah were either imprisoned, tortured or executed.
- Human Rights Watch: Middle East and Northern Africa : Saudi Arabia
- Joint written statement submitted by
- CBC News In Depth: Pakistan
- Human Rights Watch: Europe and Central Asia : Turkey
- BBC NEWS | Europe | Turk 'genocide' author faces jail
- Turkey: trampling on free speech continues Novelist Orhan Pamuk faces jail terms
- Human Rights Watch: Middle East and Northern Africa : Iran