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Towards a higher standard for international disability rights and social justice : an Islamic perspective… Hawa, Husam Eddin 2014

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TOWARDS A HIGHER STANDARD FOR INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: An Islamic Perspective on the Universal Right to Social Welfare for People with Special Challenges   by HUSAM EDDIN HAWA  LL.B. (Top Graduate Honor), Damascus University, 1994 M.A. (International Studies - Middle East), University of Washington, 2003 LL.M. (Law of Sustainable International Development), University of Washington, 2003 LL.M. (Asian and Comparative Law), University of Washington, 2004   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (LAW)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  December 2014 © Husam Eddin Hawa, 2014 ii  Abstract  Although people with disabilities (PWDs) experience significant marginalization and vulnerability, they are not receiving social income assistance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) despite of their right under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Social welfare laws in the MENA should be reformed to include disability income assistance. These laws (that were inherited from the Western colonists) did not progress as much as their Western counterpart. This legal reform should consider the evolution of Western social welfare systems, which are based on liberal equality theories. This legal transplant of a liberal secular system into the MENA’s Islamic background requires testing the compatibility between liberal and Islamic moral values.   In order to do this, first, I will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these liberal theories in relation to the public policy to address the medical, economic and social needs of PWDs. Then, I will use my own amalgamation of these liberal ideas to form an Islamic version of this new liberal theory while showing their compatibility with my own Islamic perspective on liberty and equality (i.e. proposing a common ground between liberal and Islamic moral values). Next, I will use this common ground to explain Qurʼānic rules about Zakāh (Islamic social tax) with my own new interpretation that has a commitment to social justice and a consideration of both liberal and Islamic moral values. Finally, based on this new interpretation, I will offer a new model for social welfare systems in the MENA. iii   Therefore, based on the above, entitlements to disability supports can be justified and delivered through the governmental implementation of Zakāh. This implementation is feasible as it can be designed and delivered in Islamic countries with similar or better results than in Western liberal countries. Such a system with specific reference to Qurʼānic teachings is both socially and politically preferable to the imposition of traditional Western approaches to rights and services. This proposal would lead to establishing a higher standard for international disability rights (more specifically, the universal human right to social welfare) and establishing a higher standard for social justice. iv  Preface  This dissertation is an original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Husam Eddin Hawa.  v  Table of Contents  Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ........................................................................................................................................... iv Table of Contents ...........................................................................................................................v List of Tables ................................................................................................................................ ix List of Abbreviations .....................................................................................................................x Transliteration Chart ................................................................................................................. xii Glossary ........................................................................................................................................xv Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. xviii Dedication ................................................................................................................................... xix Chapter  1: Introduction ...............................................................................................................1 1.1 The roadmap for Chapter 1 ............................................................................................. 1 1.2 The universal consensus on BHRs for PWDs................................................................. 1 1.3 The research question and the literature review ............................................................. 7 1.3.1 Searching for the best candidate liberal theory to achieve justice for PWDs ........... 10 1.3.2 Reinterpreting Islamic rules about Zakāh according to the objective morality ........ 18 1.3.3 Creating a new model for social welfare systems in the MENA .............................. 34 1.4 The need for finding the common ground for the objective morality ........................... 39 1.4.1 The difficulty of exporting the liberal ideas to the Islamic world ............................ 42 1.4.2 The need for distinguishing between special rights and rights guaranteed by   the objective morality ............................................................................................... 44 1.4.3 The need for distinguishing between permanent rights and temporary advantages/benefits ................................................................................................... 46 1.4.4 The dependency between human law and the objective morality ............................ 48 Chapter  2: Disability Rights within Liberal Theories of Equality .........................................51 2.1 The roadmap for Chapter 2 ........................................................................................... 51 2.2 A historical overview of the changing perceptions of disability .................................. 53 2.2.1 The [im]moral model of disability ............................................................................ 55 2.2.2 The biomedical/expert/professional model of disability........................................... 55 2.2.3 The charity/tragedy model of disability .................................................................... 57 2.2.4 The economic model of disability............................................................................. 57 2.2.5 The social-political/adapted model of disability ....................................................... 59 2.2.6 The spectrum model of disability ............................................................................. 68 vi  2.2.7 The consumer/business/market model of disability .................................................. 72 2.2.8 The rights-based access to citizenship/unified model of disability .......................... 73 2.3 The definition of disability at the international level .................................................... 80 2.4 Using social welfare laws and anti-discrimination laws to address issues of justice   for PWDs ...................................................................................................................... 84 2.5 Is there a conflict between Liberty and Equality? ........................................................ 92 2.6 Should states have a positive obligation to alleviate inequalities as well as an obligation not to engage in conduct that causes inequalities? ...................................... 96 2.7 Which liberal equality theory can address issues of justice for PWDs? ..................... 105 2.7.1 Michel Rosenfeld’s theory of equality .................................................................... 107 2.7.2 The utilitarian theories of equality .......................................................................... 109 2.7.3 The classical liberal and the contemporary libertarian theories of equality ........... 110 2.7.4 The contractarian theories of equality ..................................................................... 113 2.7.4.1 John Rawls’ social contract theory ................................................................. 114 2.7.4.2 The debate between Rawls’ social contract theory and Martha Nussbaum’s BHCs theory in addressing equality for PWDs .............................................. 119 2.7.4.3 The combination of Rawls’ social contract and Nussbaum’s BHCs   theories ............................................................................................................ 127 2.7.5 The egalitarian theories of equality ......................................................................... 129 2.7.5.1 The debate between Richard Arneson’s RCP theory and Elizabeth   Anderson’s democratic equality theory .......................................................... 130 2.7.5.2 Ronald Dworkin’s equality of resources theory ............................................. 138 2.8 A candidate liberal equality theory to deal with issues of justice for PWDs .............. 141 2.9 The compatibility between the liberal moral values and the religious (in general)/Islamic (in particular) moral values .............................................................. 153 Chapter  3: The Compatibility between Islamic Ideas and the Liberal Ideas about  Social Justice...............................................................................................................................162 3.1 The roadmap for Chapter 3 ......................................................................................... 162 3.2 A historical background of Islamic modernism .......................................................... 163 3.3 The debate about whether there is a conflict between Islamic values and   universal human rights? .............................................................................................. 168 3.4 An introduction to reformist Islam (progressive Islam versus liberal Islam) ............. 172 3.5 The compatibility between some liberal equality ideas and my progressive Islam perspective about social justice in the Qurʼān ............................................................ 178 3.5.1 The compatibility between some ideas of Nussbaum’s BHCs theory   and my progressive Islam perspective about social justice in the Qurʼān .............. 180 3.5.2 The compatibility between some ideas of Rawls’ social contract theory   and my progressive Islam perspective about social justice in the Qurʼān .............. 193 3.5.3 The compatibility between some ideas of Dworkin’s and Arneson’s theories   and my progressive Islam perspective about social justice in the Qurʼān .............. 207 3.6 How to choose the least advantaged members in the society? ................................... 212 3.6.1 The moral Qurʼānic origins of Zakāh ..................................................................... 215 3.6.2 The diverse interpretations and textual analysis of the Qurʼān about the   distribution of Zakāh funds ..................................................................................... 220 vii  3.6.2.1 Category 1 and category 2 .............................................................................. 223 3.6.2.1.1 Category 1: (al-Fuqarāʼ) ........................................................................... 223 3.6.2.1.2 Category 2: (al-Masākīn) .......................................................................... 225 3.6.2.2 The other categories from category 3 to category 8 ....................................... 238 3.6.2.2.1 Category 3: (al-ʻĀmilīna ʻalayhā) ............................................................. 239 3.6.2.2.2 Category 4: “those whose hearts are made to incline [to truth]” .............. 242 3.6.2.2.3 Category 5: (Fī al-riqāb) ........................................................................... 246 3.6.2.2.4 Category 6: (al-Ghārimīn) ........................................................................ 248 3.6.2.2.5 Category 7: “[those] in the way of God”................................................... 251 3.6.2.2.6 Category 8: “Son of the road” ................................................................... 254 3.7 Moving from interpretation to implementation .......................................................... 256 Chapter  4: The Current Social Welfare Systems in the MENA and their Development Possibilities..................................................................................................................................259 4.1 The roadmap for Chapter 4 ......................................................................................... 259 4.2 A summary of Esping-Andersen’s three worlds of welfare capitalism typology ....... 260 4.2.1 The liberal model of welfare ................................................................................... 261 4.2.2 The conservative (or the corporatist-statist) model of welfare ............................... 262 4.2.3 The social democratic (similar to the Marxist) model of welfare ........................... 263 4.3 The application of Esping-Andersen’s typology to the evolution of the Canadian   social welfare system .................................................................................................. 267 4.3.1 The residual model of welfare (or Esping-Andersen’s liberal model of welfare) before the Second World War ................................................................................. 268 4.3.2 The shift from a residual model of welfare to an institutional model of welfare   (or Esping-Andersen’s social democratic model of welfare) after the Second   World War .............................................................................................................. 272 4.3.3 The swing back to the residual model of welfare after the early 1970s ................. 276 4.3.4 Rick August’s argument (as an example) that supports the Canadian   government’s effort to swing back to the residual model of welfare ..................... 281 4.4 What lessons can be learned from the Canadian experience for the social welfare development in the MENA? ....................................................................................... 291 4.5 What are the fundamental principles that social programs should be   founded on? ................................................................................................................. 296 4.6 The applicability of Esping-Andersen’s typology for the development of   social welfare in the MENA ....................................................................................... 299 4.6.1 The governmental social welfare systems in the MENA (Esping-Andersen’s conservative model of welfare) ............................................................................... 300 4.6.2 The non-governmental social welfare systems beside the governmental social welfare systems in the MENA (Esping-Andersen’s liberal model of welfare) ...... 306 4.6.3 A new Islamic perspective on social welfare and the Qurʼānic rules about   Zakāh (in the direction towards Esping-Andersen’s social democratic model   of welfare) ............................................................................................................... 311 4.7 Some comparison between social welfare systems in the MENA and the Canadian social welfare system (as an example of Western social welfare systems) ................ 316 4.8 A new proposed model for social welfare systems in the MENA .............................. 319 viii  4.8.1 What are the parts of the total welfare spending for social policy? ........................ 320 4.8.2 How should the social benefits be delivered (comparing between governmental delivery of services and non-governmental delivery of services)? ......................... 322 4.8.3 In what form should the social benefits be provided (comparing between in-kind benefits, cash benefits, and vouchers)? ................................................................... 326 4.8.4 To whom should the social benefits be given (comparing between universal   benefits, means-tested benefits, and needs-tested benefits)? .................................. 333 4.8.5 How should resources be generated within the society in order to pay for the activities of the welfare state? ................................................................................. 342 4.8.5.1 Should Zakāh be a separate governmental tax system (where all money collected from Zakāh has to be spent on social welfare only)? ...................... 343 4.8.5.2 How should the non-governmental voluntary sector provide social   services? .......................................................................................................... 348 4.8.6 Connecting the dots as a conclusion ....................................................................... 353 Chapter  5: Conclusion ..............................................................................................................365 5.1 The roadmap for Chapter 5 ......................................................................................... 365 5.2 Conclusions of the research and contributions to knowledge ..................................... 366 5.2.1 My new liberal equality theory to achieve justice for PWDs ................................. 367 5.2.2 My proposed Islamic version of my new liberal equality theory ........................... 369 5.2.3 My new interpretation of the Qurʼānic rules about Zakāh ..................................... 371 5.2.4 My proposed model for social welfare systems in the MENA ............................... 374 5.3 Is my proposed model for social welfare systems in the MENA able to implement   the fundamental principles for the development of social programs that are   learned from the Canadian experience? ...................................................................... 376 5.4 Comments on limitations of the research.................................................................... 381 5.5 Potential applications of the research findings ........................................................... 386 5.6 Possible future research directions .............................................................................. 388 5.7 Looking ahead ............................................................................................................. 390 Bibliography ...............................................................................................................................393  ix  List of Tables  Table 1    The current governmental social welfare systems in Muslim countries ............. 303   x  List of Abbreviations  ADA  Americans with Disabilities Act BC  British Columbia BHC  Basic Human Capability  BHCs  Basic Human Capabilities BHR  Basic Human Right BHRs  Basic Human Rights CAP  Canada Assistance Plan CCD  Council of Canadians with Disabilities CDHRI Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam CHST  Canada Health and Social Transfer CPP  Canada Pension Plan DTC  Disability Tax Credit EI  Employment Insurance EL  Employer Liability ICCPR  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICESCR International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ICF  International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health ID  Identification Card MENA Middle East and North Africa NGO  Non-governmental Organization NGOs  Non-governmental Organizations xi  OAS  Old Age Security OIC  Organization of the Islamic Conference/Organization of Islamic Cooperation PF  Provident Funds PWD  Person with a Disability PWDs  People with Disabilities RCP  Responsibility-Catering Prioritarianism RDTC  Refundable Disability Tax Credit SI  Social Insurance UBC  University of British Columbia UDHR  Universal Declaration of Human Rights UI  Unemployment Insurance UK  United Kingdom UN  United Nations UNCRPD United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities UPIAS  Union of the Physically Impaired against Segregation USA  United States of America USA-SSA United States of America Social Security Administration WHO  World Health Organization      xii  Transliteration Chart  Arabic  Romanization  ˴ଉ   a  ˵ଉ   u  ˶ଉ   i  ˷ଉ   doubling the letter or digraph  ˱ଉ; ΍+ ˱ଉ   an  ˲ଉ   un  ˳ଉ   in  ˯   ʼ ΍    omit ΁   ā; ʼā ΍+ ˴ଉ   ā ϯ+ ˴ଉ   á ϝ΍   al- Ώ    b Ε    t Ι    th Ν    j xiii  Ρ    ḥ Υ    kh Ω    d Ϋ    dh έ    r ί    z α    s ε    sh ι     ṣ ν     ḍ ρ    ṭ υ    ẓ ω   ʻ  ύ    gh ϑ    f  ϕ    q  ϙ    k ϝ    l ϡ    m ϥ    n xiv  ϩ    h Γ   h; t ϭ    w ϭ+ ˵ଉ   ū  ˸ϭ+ ˴ଉ   aw  ˷ϭ+   ˵ଉ   ūw  ˷ϭ+   ˴ଉ   aww ϱ    y ϱ+   ˶ଉ   ī ϱ+   ˴ଉ   ay  ˷ϱ+   ˶ଉ   ī; īy  ˷ϱ+   ˴ଉ   ayy xv  Glossary  Aḥādīth:    Plural of Ḥadīth.  al-ʻĀmilīna ʻalayhā:   People who devoted their time to do charitable work.  al-Anṣār:    Supporters/Inhabitants of al-madīnah al-munawarah.  Dhā matrabah:   Those down in the dust.  al-Dhullah:    Humiliation.  Fī:     In.  Fiqh:     Islamic jurisprudence.  Fī al-riqāb:    People who are living in abusive relationships.  Fiṭrah:  Intrinsic nature that has the power of intuitive reason/the natural sense of right and wrong.  al-Fuqarāʼ:    The poor.  Garam:    Attachment to a harsh condition.   Gharāmah:    A Financial hardship.  al-Ghārimīn:  People who are forced to borrow and are not able to repay their debts for reasons outside their control.  Ḥadīth:  Traditional narratives of the sayings and practices of Prophet Muḥammad.  Ḥadīth Ṣaḥīḥ:    Ḥadīth considered authentic by traditionalists.  Ḥajj:     Pilgrimage to Mecca.  al-Ḥanafī School:  A school of Islamic jurisprudence founded by Abū Ḥanīfah Nuʿmān ibn Thābit ibn Zūṭā ibn Marzubān.  al-Ḥanbalī school:  A school of Islamic jurisprudence founded by Abū ʻAbd Allāh Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥanbal al-Shaybānī.  xvi  Ḥudūd Allāh:    God’s borders  Ijtihād:    Reinterpreting the traditional texts that established Islamic Law.  Jihad:  Bigger Jihad: Internal spiritual struggle in resisting selfish temptations for God’s cause/physical struggle in doing good deeds for God’s cause such as taking care of people with disabilities. Smaller Jihad: Armed struggle/self-defence for God’s cause.  Karāmah:  Inherent human dignity/capacity to treat each other with a mutual respect.  Li:     For.  al-Madīnah al-Munawarah:  A city in Saudi Arabia.  al-Mālikī school:  A school of Islamic jurisprudence founded by Mālik ibn Anas ibn Mālik ibn Abī 'Āmir al-Aṣbaḥī.  al-Masākīn:  People who are in harsh circumstances due to having special needs (such as people with disabilities, elderly people and orphans).  al-Maskanah:  This word is related to the word al-Masākīn and it comes from the word Sukūn.  Mecca:    A city in Saudi Arabia.  Meccan:    Inhabitants of Mecca.  al-Miskīn:    Single of al-Masākīn.  Niṣāb:  The minimum Zakāhable income = 85 grams of gold at world prices.  Qanāṭīr:    Plural of Qinṭār.  Qinṭār:    1200 Ounces of gold.  al-Qurʼān al-Karīm:   The Holy Qurʼān/the divine book of Islam.  Qurʼānic:    Qurʼān + ic.  Ramaḍān:    A month in the lunar Islamic calendar.  Ṣadaq:    Believe.  xvii   Ṣadaqah:    Charity.  Ṣadaqat:    Plural of Ṣadaqah.  Ṣalāh:     Observing the five daily ritual prayers.   Ṣawm:    Fasting in the month of Ramaḍān from dawn till sunset.  al-Shāfi‘ī school:  A school of Islamic jurisprudence founded by Abū ʿAbd-Allāh Muḥammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfi‘ī.  Shahādah:  Declaring that 'there is no god but Allāh (the Creator) and Muḥammad is His Messenger'.   Shariʻah:    Islamic Law.  Shīʻah Islam:    The second-largest denomination of Islam.  Shirk:  Opposite of Tawḥīd/associating partners with God/attributing holiness to a created thing.  al-Shūrá:   Consultation  Sukūn:    Serenity or inability to move due to a disability or weakness.  al-Sunnah:  The Sunnah/prophetic practice and exemplary behavior/actions and judgments of Prophet Muḥammad.  Sunnī Islam:    The largest denomination of Islam.  Tanzimāt:    Large-scale reforms/reorganizing.  Taqlīd:    Blind following/uncritical imitation.  Tawḥīd:    Monotheism.  Waqf:     Islamic Endowment.  Zakāh:  Islamic social tax/publicly disclosed charity/religiously obligatory charity (i.e. it is not voluntary and it is not arbitrary).  Zakāhable:    Zakāh + able/Taxable.  Zakka:    Purify. xviii  Acknowledgements  I am grateful to many people for their support in completing this dissertation. I offer my enduring gratitude to the faculty, staff, and my fellow students at the University of British Columbia (UBC), who have inspired me to continue my work in this field.  I am extremely grateful to Professor William Black who supervised this dissertation most capably. It is my great pleasure to have him as a mentor and friend, as well as a supervisor who challenged my thinking and gave me the confidence to create new ideas that would make great contributions to knowledge.  I owe a further debt of gratitude to my supervisory committee for working together and working with me to advance this research project. In addition to Professor Black, I owe particular thanks to Dr. Tim Stainton, Dr. Andrew Rippin, and Mr. Tom Patch for their challenging questions that taught me to explore more deeply and for providing coherent answers to my endless questions.   Special thanks are owed to my beloved wife Lina Alismael, who supported me throughout my years of study. Completing this dissertation would not be possible without her help in translation of Arabic texts into the English language and her help in transliteration of Arabic into Latin characters.   I also would like to thank my proofreader and the staff at the UBC - Access and Diversity office for their assistance in providing disability accommodations.   xix  Dedication  This work is dedicated to my mother, my wife, and my son Adam Hawa, who have been a source of great motivation and inspiration to my new ideas.  1  Chapter  1: Introduction  1.1 The roadmap for Chapter 1 Entitlements to disability rights should be a guaranteed universal human right, even if there is no human law that supports these rights. On the other hand, disability rights should not be simply means-tested benefits or acts of sympathy and compassion towards people with disabilities (PWDs). Therefore, due to the fact that disability rights are guaranteed rights and not simply means-tested benefits, they should not be denied by the fact a person with a disability (PWD) has income and/or asset.  In this chapter, I will provide an overview of later parts of this dissertation. I will also provide an introduction and a justification for my research project. I will explain the universal consensus on basic human rights (BHRs) for PWDs, which is reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). I will introduce the research question and the literature review. I will discuss the politics of special rights and the moral source of rights. I will explain why a legal system based on universal natural BHRs is both socially and politically preferable to the imposition of traditional Western approaches to rights and services.  1.2 The universal consensus on BHRs for PWDs Throughout history, PWDs have been viewed as individuals who need society’s protection based on sympathy (instead of respect). While some countries have enacted comprehensive laws to protect the BHRs of PWDs, many other countries have not enacted such laws. Because of discriminatory practices, PWDs are living in the shadows of the society. Therefore, their rights 2  have been ignored. Therefore, the UNCRPD as a universal, legally binding standard was needed to ensure that the rights of PWDs are guaranteed everywhere. UNCRPD is an important step towards changing the negative attitudes about disability and ensuring that the society should provide all people (including PWDs) with opportunities to live their life to its fullest potential.  According to Article 1 of the UNCRPD, “The purpose of the [UNCRPD] is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all [BHRs] and fundamental freedoms by all [PWDs], and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”1 Therefore, this international human rights document of the United Nations (UN) ensures that PWDs enjoy full equality under the law. Additionally, according to Article 3 of the UNCRPD, the states parties should follow important principles (that should influence the promotion, formulation and evaluation of the policies at the national, regional and international levels in order to equalize opportunities for PWDs) including:  (a) Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons; (b) Non-discrimination; (c) Full and effective participation and inclusion in society; (d) Respect for difference and acceptance of [PWDs] as part of human diversity and humanity; (e) Equality of opportunity; (f) Accessibility; …2  The preamble of the UNCRPD focuses on many points including that the states parties are:  (a) Recalling the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the [UN] which recognize the inherent dignity and worth and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, (b) Recognizing that the [UN], in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [(UDHR)] and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, has proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of                                                  1 United Nations Convention and Optional Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN Doc A/61/611 (2006), 2515 UNTS 3, art 1, online: United Nations Treaty Collection <http://treaties.un.org> [UNCRPD]. 2 Ibid, art 3. 3  any kind, (c) Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all [BHRs] and fundamental freedoms and the need for [PWDs] to be guaranteed their full enjoyment without discrimination, … (t) Highlighting the fact that the majority of [PWDs] live in conditions of poverty, and in this regard recognizing the critical need to address the negative impact of poverty on [PWDs], … (w) Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals and to the community to which he or she belongs, is under a responsibility to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized in the International Bill of Human Rights, (x) Convinced that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State, and that [PWDs] and their family members should receive the necessary protection and assistance to enable families to contribute towards the full and equal enjoyment of the rights of [PWDs], …3  The UNCRPD is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly by resolution A/RES/61/106 on December 13, 2006. It was drafted more quickly than any other human rights treaty, completed in only eight sessions of an Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly from 2002 to 2006. The UNCRPD was opened for signature in accordance with its article 42 on March 30, 2007. It is the first human rights convention to be open for signature by a regional integration organization (i.e. the European Union). On its opening day, there were 82 signatories to the UNCRPD, 44 signatories to its Optional Protocol. This is the highest number of signatories in history to any UN Convention on its opening day. It came into force following ratification by the 20th party in accordance with its article 45(1) on May 3, 2008.  As of May 1, 2014, there are 158 signatories to the UNCRPD, 92 signatories to its Optional Protocol, 145 ratifications/accessions to the UNCRPD, and 80 ratifications/accessions to its Optional Protocol. Moreover, there are many Arab and Muslim states signatories, ratifications                                                  3 Ibid, Preamble. 4  and accessions to the