Human rights in Islamic countries

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Human rights in Islamic countries vary, but are generally poor to average compared with other countries in the world. According to the Global Network for Rights and Development, the United Arab Emirates is the only one of 48 Muslim-majority countries with human rights comparable to Western democracies[unreliable source?].

International Human Rights Rank Indicator[edit]

The International Human Rights Rank Indicator (IHRRI), which combines scores for a wide range of human rights, is produced by the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD); ratings in the table below are as of 11 October 2014. All Muslim countries have a human rights rating less than 53%, with the notable exception of United Arab Emirates, whose rating (71.49%) is similar to many Western democracies; for comparison, Sweden is the highest-rated country worldwide with 89.13%, and the US is rated 69.23%.

Population percentage figures below are from the Pew Research Center report The Future of the Global Muslim Population, as of 27 January 2011; all majority Muslim countries (with population over 50% Muslim) are listed.

Country Muslim % of
total population
International Human Rights
Rank Indicator rating
Afghanistan 99.8 27.96%
Albania 82.1 52.15%
Algeria 98.2 33.49%
Azerbaijan 98.4 44.40%
Bahrain 81.2 47.03%
Bangladesh 90.4 47.20%
Brunei 51.9 29.99%
Burkina Faso 58.9 41.14%
Chad 55.7 21.68%
Comoros 98.3 37.89%
Djibouti 97 37.31%
Egypt 94.7 42.67%
Gambia 95.3 35.80%
Guinea 84.2 38.90%
Indonesia 88.1 29.29%
Iran 99.7 36.22%
Iraq 98.9 30.42%
Jordan 98.8 45.83%
Kazakhstan 56.4 47.09%
Kuwait 86.4 48.25%
Kyrgyzstan 88.8 38.55%
Lebanon 59.7 42.53%
Libya 96.6 36.95%
Malaysia 61.4 52.10%
Maldives 98.4 48.17%
Mali 92.4 30.58%
Mauritania 99.2 40.01%
Mayotte 98.8 37.47%
Morocco 99.9 50.92%
Niger 98.3 35.60%
Oman 87.7 45.73%
Pakistan 96.4 38.61%
Palestine 97.5 44.93%
Qatar 77.5 47.80%
Saudi Arabia 97.1 27.08%
Senegal 95.9 29.17%
Sierra Leone 71.5 21.51%
Somalia 98.6 22.71%
Sudan 71.4 30.21%
Syria 92.8 23.82%
Tajikistan 99 40.11%
Tunisia 99.8 50.47%
Turkey 98.6 47.64%
Turkmenistan 93.3 43.04%
United Arab Emirates 76 71.49%
Uzbekistan 96.5 36.77%
Western Sahara 99.6 27.55%
Yemen 99 41.91%

Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam[edit]

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 NationsUniversal 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.

Individual countries[edit]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Human rights in Saudi Arabia are intended to be based on Hanbali Islamic religious laws under absolute rule of the Saudi royal family.

The authoritarian regime ruling Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world, consistently ranking among the "worst of the worst" in Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil rights.


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.[1] General Zia introduced Sharia Law which led to Islamization of the country.[2] The current regime in Pakistan has been responsible for torture, extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5][6] 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.[citation needed]


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.[7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]