In a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) said that there have been "huge harassments of human rights organizations, and defenders have been increasingly subject to abusive and suppressive actions by government actors … in the majority of Arab countries, particularly Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Tunisia."
The group this week called upon the international community to "exert effective efforts to urge Arab governments to duly reconsider their legislation, policy, and practices contravening their international obligations to protect freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom to form associations, including non-governmental organizations"
As an example of typical area-wide human rights abuses, the CIHRS report cited the recent forced closure by Egyptian authorities of the Association for Human Rights Legal Aid, an organization active in exposing incidences of torture. The Egyptian government claimed that the organization"received foreign funding without having the consent of the Minister of Social Solidarity." ........
The organization warned of "increasingly repressive conditions" being imposed on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Egypt, including a proposed amendment to the Law of Associations that it said would limit the right of association and expression.
Other Arab nations singled out for detailed criticism included Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The report also accused four other Arab countries of human rights abuses – Libya, Algeria, Sudan, and Morocco.
The U.S. and other Western governments have had close ties with Arab governments in the Middle East and North Africa for many years. These ties have grown closer since the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. ......"
(Cartoons by the Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat)