Monday, January 9, 2012

Middle East and North Africa: Protest and repression set to continue in 2012

9 January 2012

"Repression and state violence is likely to continue to plague the Middle East and North Africa in 2012 unless governments in the region and international powers wake up to the scale of the changes being demanded of them, Amnesty International warned today in a new report into the dramatic events of the last year.

In the 80-page Year of Rebellion: State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, the organization describes how governments across the region were willing in 2011 to deploy extreme violence in an attempt to resist unprecedented calls for fundamental reform.But Amnesty International said that the region’s protest movements appeared to show few signs of abandoning their ambitious goals or accepting piecemeal reforms.

“With few exceptions, governments have failed to recognize that everything has changed,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s interim Middle East and North Africa Director. “The protest movements across the region, led in many cases by young people and with women playing central roles, have proved astonishingly resilient in the face of sometimes staggering repression.”“They have shown that they will not be fooled by reforms that make little difference to the way they are treated by the police and security forces. They want concrete changes to the way they are governed and for those responsible for past crimes to be held to account.”“But persistent attempts by states to offer cosmetic changes, to push back against gains made by protesters or to simply brutalize their populations into submission betray the fact that for many governments, regime survival remains their aim.”Despite great optimism in North Africa at the toppling of long-standing rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, Amnesty International said that these gains had not yet been cemented by key institutional reforms to guarantee that the same kinds of abuses would not be repeated....."

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