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«GAIR-MITTEILUNGEN 2012 4. Jahrgang Herausgegeben von Hatem Elliesie – Peter Scholz durch die Gesellschaft für Arabisches und Islamisches Recht ...»

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The main topic of Prof. ʿAlī Karīmī’s (Morocco) presentation was cultural and linguistic rights. He looked at the topic in relation to the transitions that take place within Arab countries at the moment. The idea of cultural and linguistic rights is not new, as it is included in the Arab regional system. Prof. Karīmī argued that disregarding these rights will lead to problems and conflict and could even endanger a peaceful democratic transition. Prof. Karīmī then took on the question of how cultural and linguistic rights are put into practice. He looked at Morocco as an example and explained how Morocco achieved to incorporate linguistic and cultural rights into its constitution. No reference to these rights had been made in prior Moroccan constitutions. This resulted in the marginalization of the Amazigh language. However, in this context, it has to be noted that the new constitution Amazigh has been accepted as an official language next to Arabic.

The participants extensively discussed the issues of the session and expressed varying views. The main part of the discussion revolved around women’s rights. A participant expressed her concern that the increasing popularity of conservative Is 45 – lamic doctrine, which is being spread by some political parties, is negative for women’s rights. Thus it should be ensured that women’s rights are adequately included in the new constitutions, in particular if the Šarīʿa is stipulated as a source of law. Some participants supported the introduction of a quota to advance women’s representation. It was indicated that the support of women’s rights is gaining ground and important reforms have taken place in many areas.

Some participants stressed that Šarīʿa leaves room to address women’s rights and that it is just a matter of interpreting the Quran. All in all, the participants agreed that the role of women and the inclusion of their rights in the new constitutions is a very important issue.

Panel 6: International Law in the Context of Constitutional Development The final panel was chaired by Prof. Wolfrum and commenced with a presentation by Said Mahmoudi (University of Stockholm) on “International Human Rights Law as a Frame for New State Constitutions in the MENA Region”.

Prof. Mahmoudi addressed the presumed tension between human rights and Islamic law and examined in how far these assumptions are correct. He started by looking at current constitutions within the MENA region and analyzed how they address human rights. Most constitutions include references to human rights in various forms. Some refer to specific documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the UN Charter (e.g. Yemen, Afghanistan), whereas others include a reference to human rights norms in general without specifying particular norms. Irrespective of the type human rights are referred to, their implementation regularly proves to be problematic. Prof. Mahmoudi suggested that one reason for this shortcoming is the general attitude in Arab countries towards the individual as a bearer of rights. Islamic law implies that the individual is inherently the bearer of duties (God’s rights over individual rights). Consequently, rights may be considered to be of a residual nature; even if expressly referred to, they are a secondary matter and are often granted only with far reaching limitations. A further problem is that most rights are limited to citizens of the respective country. This is understandable in the case of the right to vote but if it comes to equality before the law, these constitutions discriminate foreigners without justification. Another important general shortcoming is the lack of monitoring and enforcement mechanisms that provide for remedies in case of rightsʼ violations. Prof. Mahmoudi highlighted the need for such mechanisms and pointed out some exceptions such as the Sudan (human rights committee) and Morocco (authority against discrimination). Then Prof. Mahmoudi discussed Islam as an official state religion. Most constitutions in the MENA region refer to Islamic law in one way or another. They do this by stating that Islam is either “a” (main) source, or “the” (main) source (almaṣdar ar-raʾīsī) or sometimes also the “only” source of legislation. Even though the references differ, the question arises as to whether a state can in such circumstances still act in compliance with its international human rights obligations. Prof. Mahmoudi stressed that international human rights law is based on a general assumption of equality before the law. Yet, interpretations that are made of Islamic law give the impression that this is not granted in Is 46 – lamic countries, especially concerning women and religious freedom. Prof.

Mahmoudi further referred to problems concerning penal law. He explained that some countries in the Arab region apply and refer to Islamic penal law (such as ḥudūd) in their constitutions. Islamic penal law can foresee severe punishments such as cutting off extremities or stoning, practices which may fall under the general definition of torture. He stressed that the majority of Arab countries ratified the Convention against Torture have not made reservations in this respect (with the exception of Qatar). They argue that there is no contradiction because the concept of torture in the convention is a human one whereas Islamic penal law comes from God so there can be no contradiction.





Prof. Stefan Talmon (University of Bonn) presented on the de facto and the de iure recognition of governments. The events in Libya and Syria have put the topic of recognition of governments back on the agenda. In the course of the Arab Spring, various states have abandoned their long-standing practice not to recognize governments since both the Libyan and the Syrian rebel councils were recognized in varying forms. Prof. Talmon pointed out that much confusion exists about the different forms of recognition and their legal consequences.

Hence, the first question to be asked is what recognition actually means. Depending on the context, recognition (of governments, rebels or de facto / de iure regimes) may have several meanings: It may be a reflection on the legal status of a group, it may indicate willingness to enter into relations with a certain group or treat groups in a certain capacity or it may mean to express political support or approval. Moreover, it can be differentiated between de facto and de iure recognition. The categorization of recognition however depends entirely on the will of the state in the specific situation. The second question to be considered is that recognition per se is meaningless without a defining formula, since entities can be recognized in many different capacities. For example, the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) was recognized in 20 different capacities. Finally, he turned to the issue of the legality of recognizing rebel groups. He pointed out that politics and law are closely intertwined and recalled that recognition is not necessarily a purely political act. Premature recognition / recognition unfounded in law is an international wrongful act that entails state responsibility. The main criterion for the recognition of governments is the exercise of effective control over the entire state territory. In this respect it is possible to also recognize an entity which has effective control only over a certain region as a de facto government of this region. Any recognition prior to the moment of an entity having effective control must be considered as premature in international law.

The discussion revolved around Islam and human rights. It was agreed that all legal systems differ. It was mentioned that, according to the Quran, dignity is given to all descendants of Adam. A participant raised the question whether it could be that Arab countries perceive their constitutions as a political rather than a legal document. For example, in Egypt, the constitution is not seen as a supradocument above all others but as a religious and political document.

– 47 – Conclusion The presentations and discussions during the conference have been fruitful and shed light on the current status of the transitional processes in the Arab Spring countries. One of the main conclusions to be taken from the conference is that constitution-making should not be rushed, since it may shape the future of a society for decades to come. However, different approaches to state-building, state structure and human rights protection exist, and all are equally valuable.

During the conference it has been emphasized that harmony between the objectives of human rights law and Šarīʿa can be achieved. It seems that the general image of human beings is broadly the same in all (legal) systems. The basic idea of Šarīʿa, as well as of human rights law, is the protection of the well-being of the individual and its dignity. Thus, there is a common ground between the various systems and all efforts should be commenced from this point of departure onward.

* Dr. Heilmann, LL.M., ist derzeit beschäftigt am Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Public International Law – MPIL.

– 48 – RELIGARE – Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe – Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy1 Thalia Kruger Introduction: religious diversity in Europe The debate on the management of religious pluralism under State law in Europe is in full swing. The RELIGARE project addresses this issue. It focuses in particular on the relationship between religion(s) and positive State law. In order to regulate this relationship, national legislators in the vast majority of EU Member States have made the historic choice for secular State law. This option is now under threat, not least as a consequence of massive migration from various geographic regions and cultures of the world. In practice, it is often linked to the issue of the position of Islam in Europe.

At the core of the RELIGARE research project is the question which legal frameworks and instruments are best suited to guarantee respect for the rights of all individuals to freedom of conviction and religion and to non-discrimination on religious or belief grounds, in the context of European societies that are increasingly diverse.

Must we revise – and if so, how and to what extent – the existing constitutional and legislative frameworks or is it simply a matter of providing for pragmatic solutions and piece-meal adjustments in particular situations?

A call for proposals issued by the European Commission The European Commission launched a call for proposals in 2009 (FP7/2009, funded under SESH) on the topic of “Religious Pluralism and Secularism in Europe” in the frame of the Seventh FrameWork Programme. The research project “Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe – Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy” (hereafter RELIGARE) was eventually selected. The acronym RELIGARE seeks to evoke the original meaning of the word religion, that is, “to link” or “to form a bond”. RELIGARE involves 13 research units and covers 10 States: 9 EU Member States (Germany, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom [UK, England], Denmark, Spain, Bulgaria, Belgium and Italy) as well as Turkey. The RELIGARE project is conceived as an interdisciplinary one, involving the participation of jurists and sociologists. This design aims for the analysis to include a broad perspective that, as it were, transcends the purely technical questions of law, and explains the reference to “innovative approaches” in the title of the project.

An exploratory research project The teams participating in the RELIGARE project have taken as their joint aim the investigation of the question whether a new conception of citizenship and belonging can be imagined and what role (innovative) legal solutions can play in this regard. Such a conception should make it possible to fill the gap – which according to many recent studies (notably in sociology and anthropology) is being experienced by an increasing number of people living in Europe – beSee www.religareproject.eu.

tween the official secular State law and their deeper, personal, religious or philosophical convictions. If the existence of this gap – which is difficult to live with – is not taken seriously. It could threaten the social cohesion of European States and Europe as a whole.



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