Muslim-Majority States in Human Rights Regimes: Prospects of Progress

Kaldırım, Efdal Emine
Popular perception disassociates human rights and Muslim-majority states resting on claims of incompatibility between Islam and human rights, relativist arguments put forward by leading Muslim-majority states and poor human rights records in these countries. However, human rights have progressed not in a linear manner but more in a discontinuous and fragmentary manner, and the status of advanced institutionalism is a 20th century development which did not leave Muslim-majority as outliers. They opted for joining the UN-centered human rights regime, participated in norms creation, acceded to major human rights instruments, and even took a step for forming a cross-regional regime within the OIC. Yet, such engagement has not been accompanied by an equal progress of human rights in each. Their engagement was assessed by major standpoints of realism, liberalism, and constructivism to understand the reasons of engagement but poor records. UN-centered regimes’ being a declaratory regime, Muslim majority states’ selective accession to treaties and ineffective regime created under the OIC suggest that Muslim-majority states did not participate in these regimes with a genuine persuasion on the moral appropriateness of human rights or due to the strength of the international system as liberalism would claim. Legitimacy power of human rights and the low cost associated with the participation in UN-centered regime were more determinant. Therefore, progress of human rights solely relying on superiority of human rights is not likely to happen while the emergence of underlying conditions suggested by realists and constructivist are more plausible for meaningful engagement to yield progress.


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Citation Formats
E. E. Kaldırım, “Muslim-Majority States in Human Rights Regimes: Prospects of Progress,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2022.