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ARAB CIVIL SOCIETY TAKES ON CORRUPTION

Despite being relatively new and constantly the target of smear attacks, civil society in the Middle East and North Africa has made much progress in fighting corruption, says a new book published by the Arab Archives Institute (AAI) and the Jordanian Transparency Forum (JTF).

"Against Corruption: The role of Arab Civil Society in Fighting Corruption", analyses how civil society organisations, with a special focus on Jordan, Bahrain and Morocco, have put the war on corruption on the agenda locally and worldwide. Now, even the region's new leaders are pledging to fight the fight, says AAI.

But few of them are backing their rhetoric with action. As of 2006, activists in Tunisia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates were not permitted to establish anti-corruption societies. And except for Lebanon, all Arab countries control who can establish an association and who is eligible to join. "Without remorse, authorities in the Gulf states systematically ban activities, harass activists and block their websites at whim," says AAI.

To make real headway on the war on corruption, "governments in the Arab countries are urged to place more importance on the role of civil society and encourage activists to participate in the process," says AAI.

The book was published with the support of the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

For more information on the book, or to order a copy, see: http://www.alarcheef.com/studies/againstCorruption.asp or email: aainstitute(@)gmail(.)com

(18 December 2007)

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