THE UNITED NATION’S ‘BEIRUT DECLARATION AND ITS 18 COMMITMENTS ON FAITH FOR RIGHTS’: A CRITIQUE FROM AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE
Keywords:Islam, Human Rights, Beirut Declaration, United Nations, Religion
In March 2017, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) launched a “Faith for Rights” initiative. This initiative aims to gather the adherents of various religions around the world and show that they support human rights as part of their religion. This Faith for Rights initiative hosted a workshop in Beirut, which resulted in a document titled “the Beirut Declaration and the 18 Commitments on Faith for Rights” which is the centre of this article. Islam is one of the faiths claimed to be represented in this initiative. However, is Islam truly represented properly? Did this initiative properly accommodate Islamic teachings? First, this article notes that Islam does believe in human rights and has its own concept of it. Second, this article continues by examining the Beirut Declaration and its 18 Commitments on Faith for Rights and seeing whether the points agreed are consistent with Islamic principles. It is found that this document does not accommodate Islam properly. It is not suggested that Islam does not recognize human rights. However, the concept of human rights agreed by this document does not represent and even breaches the teachings of Islam. This article, therefore, recommends that Muslims should not accept “the Beirut Declaration and the 18 Commitments on Faith for Rights”, and instead they should accept the concept of human rights which are properly prescribed in the noble teachings of Islam. This article emphasizes that in the future, Muslim representatives to human rights initiatives must be weary and never agree on any declaration that might contravene any Islamic teachings or which could lead to such possibilities such as this.
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