Global Campus Human Rights Journal (GCHRJ) is established as a peer-reviewed bi-annual publication dedicated to serving as a forum for rigorous scholarly analysis, critical commentaries, and reports on recent developments pertaining to human rights and democratisation globally, particularly by adopting multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives, and using comparative approaches. Global Campus Human Rights Journal also aims to serve as a forum for fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between stakeholders, including academics, activists in human rights and democratisation, NGOs and civil society. It is an open access journal published under the auspices of the Global Campus of Human Rights, and is supported financially by the European Union Commission.
In the Arab world, covering the Mashriq, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, wars and conflicts are impeding every initiative to reflect upon democratic progress or the protection of rights. Where peace prevails, economic difficulties are discouraging political reform and tolerance, and where petrodollars flow, regimes are using their wealth to buy support, reinforce allegiance, fund intervention in neighbouring countries, and catalyse fratricidal conflicts. War-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia have witnessed continuous violations of human rights. Chemical weapons, torture, harsh detention conditions, child soldiers and other abuses have been practised by all sides, with the international community turning a blind eye to violations committed by its allies. As long as conflict prevails in these countries, prospects will look grim. Geostrategic conflicts, land conquest and border control will remain their primary concern. However, countries that managed to remain relatively peaceful in the region have shown patterns of modest reform despite challenges resulting from forced migration and a lack of economic resources. In many Arab countries some progress has indeed been noticed with regard to electoral participation, gender issues and migrant workers. These reforms remained limited and were associated with populist ambitions, driven by bottom-up activism and civil society movements. These movements reflect the existence of grassroots initiatives channelling social demands and new voices being heard in the Arab world. Women are also starting to gain ground, and elections are proving to be a vector of change.
Key words: war; migration; economic hardship; elections; gender; Mashriq; Arabian Peninsula; North Africa