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Arab development report finds little progess toward democracy

[JURIST] A panel of Arab intellectuals concluded no major steps have been taken toward democracy in the Middle East in the 2004 Arab Human Development Report released Tuesday. The long-awaited report sponsored by the UN Development Program [official website] called reforms in the region "embryonic and fragmentary" and faulted the US for impeding progress through its actions in the region. The report, which covers events from October 2003 through 2004, was authored before recent events, including elections in Iraq and demonstrations in Lebanon, held up by some as signs of change. The report became embroiled in controversy after the US and Egyptian governments criticized drafts [JURIST report] of the report and delayed its publication for several months. The 2004 report was critical of what it considered occupations by US and Israeli forces in Iraq and Palestine. The Regional Bureau for Arab States has more on the AHDR reports. The UNDP has press summaries of the report, but the full report must be purchased. Reuters has more.

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