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In new report on human rights in the Arab world, CIHRS notes increase in repression of reformists, human rights defenders and the independent press

(CIHRS/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of a 5 December 2008 CIHRS press release:

Release of New Report on the State of Human Rights in the Arab Region in 2008: From Exporting Terrorism to Exporting Repression

The first Annual Report on human rights and the Arab region by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), entitled From Exporting Terrorism to Exporting Repression, was released on the 5th of December, 2008, in anticipation of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The report will be discussed next week at the European Parliament in Brussels, and at high-level round table talks in Barcelona and Geneva. CIHRS presented the initial findings of the report in a workshop in Brussels last month after an invitation from the European Parliament's human rights committee.

In this report CIHRS finds that the status of human rights in the Arab region in 2008 has increasingly worsened. Attacks on the limited public and political liberties that exist have escalated in most countries in the region.

CIHRS notes that while Islamists are less frequently targeted, there is an increase in repression of reformists, human rights defenders and activists, the independent press and electronic media, leaders of protest movements, and of other forms of political action in Arab countries. This has been accompanied by earnest attempts to export increasing domestic repression outside the Arab region through the international mechanisms of the UN and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Initiative. Arab governments have made large individual and concerted efforts to silence independent Non-Governmental Organizations or erase them from public visibility completely, while simultaneously undermining International Human Rights Mechanisms (IHRM) of their ability to promote human rights and provide protection for victims of rights violations. Furthermore, these states have promoted and created resolutions and policies that are designed to undermine the very rights and freedoms these mechanisms are designed to promote.

For the full text of the press release, see: http://www.cihrs.org/english/newssystem/details.aspx?id=548

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