School of Law

Research Student: Khalifa A Alfadhel

Conceptual Problems in the Application of the Democratic Norm in International Law to the Political Societies of the Arab World

Photo of Khalifa A Alfadhel

This thesis will engage in addressing the conceptual problems that follow the application of the democratic norm in international law to the political societies of the Arab World (defined as members of the League of Arab States). This will be achieved through presenting the social, historical and political background of the region in question in the period from the fall of the Ottoman Empire to the aftermath of the 'Arab Spring'. It will focus on the question on who is politically organized and the complexities that follow the application of democratic theory, given that the States in question are not by large nation States.

The focus will be then shifted to the democratic norm in international law as provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant international benchmarks. It will focus on the problem of application in the region in question in terms of allowing the democratic participation of 'intolerant actors' which leads to theocracy on one hand, and denying it which leads to autocracy on the other, which are both violations to the right to democracy.

The thesis will then discuss how the democracy norm could be seen as a product of Western political thought. It will present a detailed history of the democratic norm in terms of theory and international law. It will then present the theoretical requirements of a democratic society. Finally, this thesis will attempt to revisit the social contract, in the light of the distinctive characteristics of the Arab World, in order to assess the role of religion and the necessity of a secular State and society in order to apply a sustainable democratic system.

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