G8 Summit: Leaders must heed 'clarion call' of Middle East protests

‘Include Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in the political process’ message needed

Leaders of the G8 industrialised nations should take bold action to support human rights in the Middle East and North Africa following a wave of pro-reform protests across the region, Amnesty International has said.

The G8 summit is set to discuss the promotion of democracy in the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of this year’s protests. The Prime Ministers of Tunisia and Egypt have been invited to participate in the summit.

Wide-scale popular protests in both countries earlier this year overthrew repressive governments that had ruled for decades, sparking similar movements across the region, including in Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. In all cases, ruling governments faced with protests have perpetuated a long-entrenched cycle of state repression and intolerance of dissent.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Malcolm Smart said:

“The popular protests across the Arab world this year are a clarion call that people in the region are fed up with the status quo and want full recognition of their fundamental human rights.

“G8 leaders should seize this historic opportunity to ensure that protecting and promoting human rights is at the core of their engagement with governments throughout the region.
“The widespread, extensive and very serious human rights abuses being committed in response to the protest movements are just the tip of the iceberg - they illustrate a wider pattern of abuse borne out over decades of repression.

“In its talks on the burgeoning changes in governance in the Arab region, the G8 must recognise that a sea change in how the region’s rulers see human rights - and comply with their obligations - is a necessary part of that narrative.”

Amnesty also insisted that the G8 summit should impress on the regional leaders in the Middle East and North Africa the need for greater inclusivity in the political process.

Amnesty International UK Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's Rights Programme Director Poonam Joshi said:

“Governments in the Middle East and North Africa urgently need to ensure that they come out of this period of change with policies that ensure the inclusion of previously marginalised groups such as Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, religious minorities and young people in all political processes.

“This message should be coming from the G8 leaders loudly and clearly.”

Amnesty also urged G8 leaders to call on Saudi Arabia, part of the “Group of 20” economically influential nations, to improve its abysmal human rights record.

“The Saudi Arabian government must also recognise and embrace the need for change, and make real strides to improve human rights,” said Malcolm Smart.

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