The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA) was established on the 25th of July 2014 by a coalition of Islamic NGOs (NGIs). It has been incorporated as a limited liability company under Malaysian Law but operates as an NGO.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, introduced in 1948. Much of it was drafted by the victors of the Second World War as a basic framework of rights for the international community following the devastation of war. The few Muslim states represented during the early drafts of this declaration
abstained or rejected the same aspects of the declaration due to various reasons, among them being the issue of apartheid, inadequate condemnation of fascism and nazism. In 1981, Said Rajaie-Khorassani—the post-revolutionary Iranian representative to the UN summed up the position of UDHR, by saying that it was a relativistic “secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition”, which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing Islamic law.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries.
Why CENTHRA was formed
As a research and advocacy group formed to provide an alternative to the global human rights perspective in order to offer a more balanced view that is respectful particularly of the Muslim faith and tradition, and in general the Abrahamic tradition.
CENTHRA’s concept of human rights is derived from the validity of belief in the Revelations to Prophet Muhammad (S.AW.). Human rights from the Muslim perspective are among the sacred rights given to God’s creations, specifically Man, which are to be guarded and exercised with responsibility and within limits that have also been divinely preordained. These rights, responsibilities and limits have been holistically addressed in Muslim Syariah Laws whose main principles are the protection of religion, life, intellect, property, and lineage.
CENTHRA believes in the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of secular-based and revelation-based human values by avoiding reductionism in the interpretation of human rights, which must remain multi-dimensional and sensitive to the pecularities of people of faith, which form the majority of the global population.
CENTHRA strives towards the establishment of a more equitable human rights understanding where its implementation addresses conflicts with religious law and tradition, particularly of Islam, brought about by the existing Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948, the the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966, and the International Convention on Economic and Social Rights (ICESR) 1966, which all form the International Bill of Rights. This alternative understanding and approach is thought crucial if these international human rights instruments are to be truly thought of and realised as universal.
CENTHRA aims to provide a proper platform to articulate the Malaysia’s Muslim model of human rights while contributing to the broader perspective of the human rights debate within all non-secular, in particular Abrahamic, cultures to serve the propose of broadening the human rights debate to all nations and cultures by adopting the term “Human Rights Equity” in its formulations.
CENTHRA is backed by prominent individuals in the Malaysian academia, legal practitioners and civil society. Individuals from the Malaysian academia makes up the community of Research Fellows in various disciplines, which supports CENTHRA’s research function.