Human rights conditions in 12 Arab nations continued to deteriorate last year, according to a report issued Dec. 9 by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). The publication, entitled “Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform,” is the group’s second annual report. It condemns violations of human rights, including those against political and reform activists. According to the report, Iraq continues to be the region’s worst offender despite “relative improvements,” while Egypt, Morocco, and Bahrain are identified as having regressed significantly since last year.
The report criticizes the Organization of the Islamic Conference for its efforts to subvert human rights protections and international monitors on governmental accountability. Additionally, the League of Arab States is condemned for citing “national sovereignty” as grounds for refusing to take action against rights abuses in the region, including those occurring in Sudan.
CIHRS released its inaugural report, “From Exporting Terrorism to Exporting Repression,” last year to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That edition also found Iraq to be the leading offender in human rights violations, a conclusion similar to those of other prominent human rights and refugee organizations. Last year, the UN envoy to Iraq praised the creation of an Independent High Commission for Human Rights, calling it a “milestone” for human rights in the region. (Jurist, Dec. 9)