The long road to genuine human rights reform

As protests, uprisings, crackdowns and armed attacks continue across the Middle East and North Africa, we bring you up to date on events from a human rights perspective.

Libya
As the conflict in Libya rages on between Colonel al-Gaddafi’s forces, armed rebels based in Benghazi and international forces attacking from the air, we have issued a Q&A examining the human rights issues at stake.

Our crisis researcher based in Libya, Donatella Rovera, has published a new blog in which she describes how the situation has significantly deteriorated in Benghazi and elsewhere in eastern Libya in the past few days. You can also read our press team’s most recent blogs about Libya.

We have also issued a public statement calling on the Libyan authorities to release four Al Jazeera journalists held incommunicado since they were detained while trying to leave the country two weeks ago.

Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing violence and persecution in Libya and desperately seeking safety in neighbouring countries. Take action to protect refugees fleeing Libya.

UK arms might have played a role in the brutal crackdown in Libya and elsewhere in the region. Write to the foreign secretary to call for a robust arms trade treaty.

Bahrain
We have urged the Bahraini authorities to ensure the safety of people participating in peaceful protests and of all detainees after allegations of torture by demonstrators.

We have also called for the immediate release of eight prominent Bahraini opposition activists who were arrested following a violent dispersal of demonstrators in Manama. The eight activists, mainly leading members of Shi’a opposition groups prominent in the ongoing protests for reform, were arrested last Thursday in armed raids on their homes. The security forces did not produce arrest warrants and the authorities have not revealed where the detainees have been taken, or allowed them access to lawyers or their families.

Read our report on Bahrain – Bloodied but unbowed, or read our press team’s blog posts about this country.

Egypt
We have issued a statement calling on Egyptian authorities to investigate serious allegations of torture, including forced ‘virginity tests’, inflicted by the army on women protesters arrested in Tahrir Square earlier this month.

Egyptians have strongly backed constitutional changes that will allow the country to move quickly on to elections since the resignation of President Mubarak in February. Official results show that 77% of voters in Saturday’s referendum backed the changes. Pro-democracy activists said the changes did not go far enough.

Yemen
We have called on Yemen to stop its security forces using excessive force as protesters and journalists continue to be attacked at peaceful demonstrations around the country, and targeted in ‘night raids’ and sniper attacks.

Syria
We have called on Syrian authorities to launch an independent investigation into the deaths of at least six anti-government protesters during continuing unrest in the southern city of Dera’a. Protestors were calling for political freedoms, an end to corruption and the release of political prisoners. Scores more have been injured by bullets and tear gas and many more have been detained.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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