Human rights and democracy in the Arab World in 2017: Hopeless within, doomed abroad

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Bennis, Hafsa
Boustany, Razane
Dalena, Anna Lucky
Gentil, Henriette Josephine
Hajar, Yasmine Jamal
Sharif, Hind
Sharif, Salma
Taha, Suhail
Welander, Marta
Zucconi, Martina
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Global Campus
Abstract: This article, which gives an overview of the situation pertaining to human rights and democracy in the Arab world during 2017, deals with the situation in nine countries. These countries represent a varied picture, in that occupied territories (Palestine); fledgling democracies (Lebanon and Tunisia); authoritarian regimes (Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt); and unstable countries where war and terror prevailed (Libya, Iraq and Syria) are included. Stated in general terms, the Arab world was subjected to pressure, from below, to liberalise, which was met by resistance and conservatism, from above. In Palestine, local authorities quashed protests for equality, dignity and freedom of speech, while Israeli expropriation, violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions caused thousands of injuries and deaths. In Lebanon and Tunisia, some advances were made with regard to women’s rights, drugs and ‘rape-marriage’ laws, but progress was hampered by measures consolidating corruption and impunity. The situation in three authoritarian regimes, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt, remained of grave concern. Saudi Arabia showed some signs of opening which may remain a cosmetic campaign aimed at legitimising the leadership of Mohammad Ben Salman and merely appeasing international pressure. Egypt and Morocco have shut down dissent and protest, while still trying to show some willingness to liberalise. Dire situations prevailed in Libya, Iraq and Syria, with terrorism, kidnappings, deprivation of liberty of children, and the prohibited chemical weapons being used. When individuals tried to escape the hardship in their countries, they often faced violations of human rights in Europe, by the countries that themselves are trying to promote change in the region. Key words: human rights; democracy; Arab world; 2017; occupied territories; fledgling democracies; authoritarian regimes; war; terror; refugees
human rights, democracy, Arab countries, Palestine, war, terrorism, refugees
H Bennis, R Boustany, AL Dalena et al ‘Human rights and democracy in the Arab World in 2017: Hopeless within, doomed abroad’ (2018) 2 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 96-126

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