Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here’s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.


 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate

Subscribe!
Subscribe





On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.
___________

Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Arab human rights abuses uncovered in explosive report

By David Singer - posted Monday, 21 December 2009


"A man spends his first years learning how to speak and the Arab regimes teach him silence for the rest of his life", Algerian writer Ahlem Mosteghanemi, Memory in the Flesh.

The above quote forms the backdrop to an explosive report titled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform (PDF 81KB) released last week by the Cairo Institute For Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) on the state of human rights in the Arab world for 2009.

Given the report’s contents, and the existence of CIHRS as a non government organisation since 1993, one wonders how it has managed to survive to continue its valuable work openly in Egypt exposing human rights abuses in the Arab world.

Advertisement

Perhaps the reason can be found in the associations CIHRS has built up over the years with other human rights organisations around the world that has now enabled it to produce this second comprehensive annual report in which it notes the worsening of human rights in the Arab world since 2008.

The CHIRS web site describes these associations as follows:

CIHRS enjoys consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC, and observer status in the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. CIHRS is also a member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). CIHRS is registered in Egypt, France and Geneva, has its main offices in Cairo, an office in Geneva for its work at UN human rights mechanisms and an institutional presence in Paris. CIHRS was awarded the French Republic Award for Human Rights in December 2007.

The report notes that in the Arab world in 2009: “Human rights defenders and advocates of democratic reforms were targeted for various threats and acts of repression.”

The report cites Syria as the worst offender, describes Tunisia as a “Police State” and includes Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt and Sudan as sanctioning state authorised acts of repression against human rights defenders. It lists a large number of specific individual cases and actions taken in these countries to support its claims.

The report is particularly revealing about three of the six Arab countries that currently sit on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) - Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia - a body that spends most of its time and discussions on condemning human rights abuses committed by Israel.

Advertisement

Saudi Arabia is exposed as having no independent media and according to the report:

... it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of internet websites are blocked. Some Saudi bloggers were subjected to arbitrary arrest, and one Saudi citizen was sentenced to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes on charges of publicly proclaiming a sin, following statements he made on a program carried by a Lebanese satellite channel…

… remains dangerous for human rights defenders and advocates of reform. Authorities refuse to grant legal status to the few human rights organizations that exist in the Kingdom and many reformers have been detained for long periods of time without trial and tortured. An Islamist reform activist was sentenced to a prison term for opposing government policies, and several rights defenders were banned from travel.

… a great many people detained in connection with terrorism cases were subjected to physical and psychological torture, including cuffing, beatings, sleep deprivations, and the denial of family visits. Some people detained for their advocacy of political reform were also tortured.

Bahrain - according to the report:

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All


Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

8 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with del.icio.us Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 8 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend
Advertisement

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy