Selected regional developments in human rights and democratisation during 2016: Rights amid turmoil in the Arab region

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Abdou, Ahmed
Barghouthi, Fatima
Cartes Rodríguez, Juan Bautista
d'Hondt, Cedric
Diab, Jasmin Lilian
Di Lenna, Maria Teresa
Dukmak, Amr
Eid, Lyn
El Chakar, Joanna
Embaby, Khadija
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Global Campus
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
war, migrations, elections, gender, Arab countries, Mashriq, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula
A Abdou et al ‘Selected developments in human rights and democratisation during 2016: Rights amid turmoil in the Arab region’ (2017) 1 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 479

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