Doha: (Hotel Millennium-12/5/2008): The forum on Human Rights in the Political and Judiciary message in Arab countries opened yesterday with the participation of an elite group of experts and specialists in the Human Rights field.
His Excellency Dr. Ali Smaikh Al-Marri, the Secretary-General of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRCE), Dr. Yusof Obaidan, a member of the NHRC and Kamal al-Munofi, head of the Democracy and Human Rights Programme, Cairo University addressed the opening session.
In his opening speech, Dr. Al-Marri said that respect for and protection of human rights is one of the most important pillars for achieving the objectives of progress and prosperity and sustainable development. He pointed out that NHRC is keen to convene and organize conferences and seminars on issues of human rights in the framework of the efforts of the State of Qatar to promote human rights awareness being a central component of the democratic society, their highnesses the Emir and heir apparent are both determined to build in the country.
He said that the forum seeks through exploring the place and concept of human issues in the Arab message contemporary Arab jurists and politicians are trying to convey to their largely Muslim society- one that has historically positively contributed to the cause of human rights.
In this context, His Excellency the Secretary-General said that the message in the Arab world is embodied in an intellectual matrix that stems from a culture based in general terms on modernity as well as inherited values. The mould, he went on to say, indicates that the progress process in this field is destined to be logical, realistic, scientific, transparent and compatible with global variables in contemporary realties which in turn augurs a bright future.
On the judiciary side, Dr. Al-Marry said that the contemporary march in this regard is the same as that of the political approach-one that emphasizes the growing rates of general social awareness of rights and freedoms, in parity with international standards rejuvenated the aspects of globalization and the on-going revolution in information technology.
He then added that developments in ways and means of convey the l political and judiciary messages have highlighted the important and effective joint role played by civil society institutions in harmony with the various official state institutions seeking to promote and protect human rights.
For his part, Dr Kamal Menoufi stressed the importance of human rights as a locomotive in the service of the political message towards its set Arab destination-democracy. However, he also focused on what he called the dispute between some Arab leaders and elites in dealing with the thesis of human rights; these leaders, he maintained, seem to believe that issues of economic, social , political and civil rights should have priority over human rights.
In this respect, he pointed out that some Arab governments appear inclined to subscribe to what they call cultural heritage as an execuse for shunning or at best delaying the endorsement of some articles in international conventions on human rights.
Dr. Menoufi expressed surprise from such positions, which seem to contradict or even negate the historic contribution of Islamic thought human rights specially those related to the rights of the poor and the oppressed.
On the judiciary front, Dr. Menoufi stressed the role of globalization which promotes the role of international law, which has empowered the human rights concept by making it impossible to view related issues as an internal affair. Therefore issues such as right to peace, sustainable development and clean environment are now universal. Furthermore, political and civil rights received a big boost largely thanks to globalization and to the dramatic evolution in the field of information technology in particular which has made it impossible to conceal irregularities that occur with the rights and public freedoms.
On behalf of NHRC, Dr. Yusof al-Obaidan, NHRC member expressed thanks and gratitude to the government of Qatar for the sizable support it has received in organizing the forum which took up the subject of human rights from the angle of the Arab political message on the local regional and international levels.
He stressed the importance to human rights which naturally reflects the fast changing global scene on all levels, social, economical and political.