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Human rights conditions worsening in Arab region: report

[JURIST] Human rights conditions are worsening in 12 Arab nations, according to a report [text, PDF, in Arabic; synopsis, PDF] published Friday by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) [advocacy website]. The publication, which is the group's first annual report [press release], is titled "From Exporting Terrorism to Exporting Repression," and was released to coincide with the 60th Anniversary [anniversary website] of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [text]. The report deplores the impunity of human rights violations and crimes, including violations against political, human rights, and reform activists in the region, focusing on Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen. The report identifies Iraq as the nation with the most serious human rights abuses. It charges that authoritarian tendencies in the League of Arab States [official website] have risen to an all time high, and that foreign relations of the league amount to a tool of repression. It also alleges that there is a lack of independence and guarantees of justice in the region's judicial systems. The report concludes that most Arab regimes are losing their legitimacy because they refuse to base themselves on free democratic choice and are instead allying with Salafi Islam [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], signifying a move towards religious extremism and worsening human rights conditions.

Iraq has previously been reported as having a poor human rights record. In March, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called the human rights situation in Iraq "disastrous" [JURIST report]. In June, the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants [advocacy website] declared Iraq to be one of the worst violators of refugee rights [JURIST report] in the world. Last month, the UN envoy to Iraq praised the creation of an Independent High Commission for Human Rights [JURIST report], calling it a "milestone" for human rights in the region.

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