Today the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released its second annual report on the state of human rights in the Arab world for the year 2009. The report, entitled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, concludes that the human rights situation in the Arab region has deteriorated throughout the region over the last year. The report reviews the most significant developments in human rights during 2009 in 12 Arab countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen. It also devotes separate chapters to the Arab League and an analysis of the performance of Arab governments in UN human rights institutions.
In the Middle East and North Africa, where political change occurs slowly, blogging has becomes a serious medium for social and political commentary as well as a target of government suppression, writes Mohamed Abdel Dayem. Before the June presidential election, the Iranian government blocked access to more than a dozen social networking sites and online news sources perceived as favoring opposition candidates. Hours before polls opened, SMS, or short message service for mobile phones, was disrupted and remained offline for weeks. The day after the election, the government shut down mobile phone service for an entire day.
Samira Abdullah Shehim, a mother of three, could not believe her ears when she was approached by her late husband’s friend with a proposal she never imagined to hear one day. "He was offering me a temporary marriage in exchange for a good gold piece and some monthly income," the 32-year-old widow from the southern city of Najaf told IslamOnline.net. "He told me that it was going to be a marriage for pleasure and he could end it any time he wanted," she explained.
Dans la province de Nineveh, dans le nord de l’Irak, les communautés minoritaires ont demandé à être protégées par les autorités locales et nationales, dans un contexte où l’on annonce un risque de multiplication des attaques à leur encontre durant la campagne des élections nationales de janvier. « En tant que Chrétiens, nous ressentons l’insécurité depuis l’invasion de 2003 [menée par les Etats-Unis], car nous sommes l’objet de déplacements, extorsions, enlèvements et assassinats commis par les différentes parties, pour des raisons d’agenda politique ou d’idéologies extrémistes », a dit Ihsan Matti, chauffeur de taxi de 33 ans habitant à Mossoul, la capitale de la province de Nineveh.
A young Iraqi woman was run over by her father in a car in an alleged honour killing in the United States after her behaviour became "too Western", police said. Noor Faleh Almaleki, 20, whose family had moved to Phoenix, Arizona, was hit by her father's Jeep last month as she walked across a car park. She lay in a coma for two weeks in hospital before dying.
The report "‘They Want Us Exterminated': Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq", published by Human Rights Watch August 2009, documents a wide-reaching campaign of extrajudicial executions, kidnappings, and torture of gay men in Iraq.
A new wave of violence targeting Iraq's Christian community has raised questions about the safety of religious minorities amid concerns about Iraqi forces' ability to maintain security after the 30 June withdrawal of US combat forces.