Middle East

 

“Yazidi Female Survivors Law” in Iraq is groundbreaking but not enough

By: Kristin Smith & Sonali Dhawan
العربية

The new “Yazidi Female Survivors Law”, while groundbreaking, is too narrow to address the needs of some of Iraq’s most vulnerable communities.

Early parole reforms in Turkey put political prisoners at increased risk

By: Ali Yildiz
Español | Türkçe

A new early parole bill in Turkey had the potential to improve the country’s human rights track record—but instead, it leaves political prisoners even worse off.

Graffiti creates positive human rights narratives in Lebanon

By: Nohad Elhajj
Français | العربية

During widespread protests in Lebanon, street artists have painted messages of hope and human rights activism across Beirut.

Turkey’s fast fashion is rising on the backs of Syrian refugees

By: Salma Houerbi
Español | العربية

Weak labour legislation in Turkey, paired with brands that put profits before people, is causing harmful working conditions that exploit refugees.

Navigating human rights in war-torn Yemen

By: Osamah Alfakih
Español | Français

Defending human rights in war-torn Yemen requires persistence, creativity, and strategic changes to daily operations.

In Afghanistan, the ICC abandons the field

By: Param-Preet Singh
Español

In giving undue weight to politics and practicalities in their decision to abandon war crimes investigations in Afghanistan, the ICC judges have set a dangerous ...

Litigating rights under occupation

By: Jessica Montell
Español | עברית | العربية

Israeli occupation is the root cause of Palestinian suffering. Litigation won’t change that, but it has nevertheless proven a successful tactic to defend Palestinian ...

Communications infrastructure in Palestine has become a tool of repression

By: Who Profits Research Center
العربية | Français

Restrictions on Palestinian mobile companies mean that Israeli companies reap profits from Palestinian customers, while Israel benefits from the resulting surveillance ...

A hidden violation—sexual violence against men and boys in Syria and Turkey

By: Charu Lata Hogg
العربية

A new report suggests sexual violence against men and boys in widespread in the Syria conflict. And this largely unacknowledged abuse is barely addressed in the ...

The end of tyranny: South Africa’s civil society fights back

By: Ivor Chipkin
Español

Powerful civil society coalitions have re-emerged in South Africa, using litigation, social mobilization, and diverse political coalitions.

Resist or flee: NGOs respond to Egypt’s crackdown

By: Khaled Mansour
العربية | Español

In the last few years, the Egyptian government has launched an unprecedented crackdown on civil society, causing human rights NGOs to flee, adapt or freeze.

Turkey’s democratic deficit and the European Court of Human Rights

By: Dilek Kurban

Erdoğan will likely succeed in removing the only genuine political opposition in the Turkish Parliament. And it will all, technically, be legal if the ECtHR does ...

“No One Warned Me”: the trade-off between self-care and effective activism

By: Yara Sallam
العربية

Is there a trade off between protecting your mental health as an activist and doing effective work?

A levy in the African Union could be a step towards independence

By: Amandine Rushenguziminega
Français

A new levy in the African Union could lead to more financial independence—but who is funding human rights?

International recognition and public opinion towards conflict and violence

By: Yael Zeira

Experiments show international recognition of statehood could change popular support for violence in self-determination conflicts.

Following orders: how expectations might reduce human rights abuses

By: Yonatan Lupu
Español

Understanding the logic of expectations could help us predict why some people follow orders to violate human rights—and others don’t.

Using experiments to improve women’s rights in Pakistan

By: Gulnaz Anjum & Adam Chilton

Experiments on support for women’s rights in Pakistan could improve the implementation and enforcement of UN treaties.

Why engaging with perpetrators isn’t possible in Iran (yet)

By: Mahmood Monshipouri
فارسی

Engagement with Iranian human rights perpetrators might help someday, but in the current political climate it’s simply not possible.

Satire as a tool of resistance in Egypt

By: M. B.
العربية

In countries where fear is employed as a weapon against freedom of speech, satire is one of the strongest tools of resistance.

Rethinking strategies of child protection

By: Rachel Schmidt
Français

When children become the lead players in recruitment strategies, how can child protection advocates weigh in?

Human rights and public opinion in Israel: anger vs. pragmatism

By: Dahlia Scheindlin
Español | עברית | العربية

In Israel, public support for the term, “human rights,” is falling; support for actual human rights policies, however, is strong.

Will tougher sentences prevent female genital mutilation in Egypt?

By: Amel Fahmy
العربية

Egypt is considering tougher sentences and stiffer fines for doctors and parents who perform female genital mutilation on their daughters. But will that change ...

Human rights and the failed coup in Turkey

By: Richard Falk
Türkçe

There are risks for human rights in the post-coup purges in Turkey. But we must applaud more loudly the coup’s failure as a victory for human rights and democracy.

Human rights organizations and the state: how different are we really?

By: Maayan Geva

How different are human rights organizations and the state institutions they challenge? A key Israel group has pulled away from cooperation with the army, arguing ...

Islamic ideals of peace and justice: are we overlooking something?

By: Hakan Altinay
العربية

Associating progressive social policies with Islam may unsettle some, yet the parallels are there and offer many possibilities.

Accounting for human rights: lessons from Syria

By: Sean Luna Mcadams
Español

If refugee advocates don’t shine a light on budgets, it will be nearly impossible to ensure sustained support for refugee protection efforts.

Activists get creative in their push for Moroccan women’s rights

By: Rachel Schmidt

Partnering with a comedienne and taking to social media, Human Rights Watch is getting creative to gain traction on women’s rights in Morocco.

Crisis in Europe exposes failing refugee protection regime

By: John Torpey

The refugee protection regime works if it remains limited to those genuinely fleeing persecution — though the Syrian crisis proves again that ways must also be ...

When national security trumps international humanitarian law, who wins?

By: Brad Gutierrez

International humanitarian law is not a diplomatic conversation devoid of real world implications, and ignoring it creates a free-for-all.

In the name of security: when silencing active citizens creates even greater problems

By: Iva Dobichina & Poonam Joshi
Español

Silencing activists in the name of security can stifle actors most likely to challenge extremist ideologies, making insecurity worse.

Missing: an international response to the rising tide of impunity

By: Cathal Gilbert
Español

Civil society organisations are targeted because political elites know they have power. But where is the international backup?

Is a reformed Refugee Convention a solution?

By: Neva O. Öztürk & Cavidan Soykan
Türkçe

The Refugee Convention was designed for an earlier era, but there seems little will to update its provisions to meet today’s reality.

Refugee protection is politics

By: Roni Amit & Loren B. Landau
Français

The best refugee legislation in the world will have little effect when those seeking protection are characterized as security risks.

Syria continues to bleed while the Middle East closes its doors

By: Susan M. Akram
العربية

Host states impose greater restrictions on refugees’ rights at least partly because Western states aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities.

Rethinking progressive NGO funding in Israel

By: Hillel Ben-Sasson
Español

Marked as traitors by the dominant Right for relying on foreign aid, Israeli liberal NGOs need a wider base of local donors.

Ignore public opinion at your own peril

By: Colin Irwin 

Why have global leaders continually been ignoring the views of Muslims—and especially of Syrians—on conflict?

Strategic, data-driven human rights advocacy: the Israeli experience

By: Dahlia Scheindlin

Winning the public’s trust requires that NGOs be open to understanding, and respecting, the public’s perspectives.

Wanted in Israel: democratic leadership

By: Tamar Hermann 
العربية | עברית

Israeli public opinion is not nearly as anti-democratic as is often depicted. Israeli leadership, however, is another story.

Morocco’s “soft” repression of human rights activists

By: Zine El Abidine Meknassi 
Français | العربية

Moroccan authorities still use old methods of oppressing opponents. Without popular support, can human rights groups fight back?

In Israel, public opinion matters more when it’s against you

By: Dahlia Scheindlin
Español | العربية | עברית

Backed into a corner, Israeli human rights groups are trying to better understand and utilize public opinion.

Perceptions on human rights can help—or hinder—state building

By: Khalil Shikaki 
Français | العربية

Public perception on human rights in the Middle East can provide important insights on state building.

In Israel, intense combat spurs peace activism

By: Erica Weiss 
עברית | العربية

Experience of intense combat not only turns Israeli soldiers against conflict resolution, it can also spur them to become anti-occupation activists.

For Moroccan rights groups, good reputations aren’t enough

By: Rachid Touhtou  & James Ron & Shannon Golden
Français | العربية

Without building a strong popular base, the Moroccan human rights community cannot capitalize on its good reputation.

Partners in prayer: women's rights and religion in Morocco

By: Meriem El Haitami & Shannon Golden & James Ron
Français | العربية

Pundits say that religion and human rights are opposing forces in Morocco, especially around women’s rights. Our Human Rights Perception Polls suggest a more nuanced ...

Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel

By: Jessica Montell
Español | العربية | עברית

Polls help identify wedge issues, but what happens if human rights activists only pick fights they can win?

In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong

By: Dahlia Scheindlin
Español | עברית | العربية

Polls indicate that Jewish Israelis generally support the concept of human rights, but are less supportive of Israeli human rights organizations – especially those ...

Is the relationship of the ICC and R2P truly “win-win”?

By: Ruben Reike
Français | العربية

Evidence from Syria and Libya suggests that linkages between the ICC and R2P are not always win-win.

ICC action and the domestic effects of transnational criminality

By: Valentina Azarov
العربية

Noisy discussions in the Israeli/Palestinian context have obscured how the ICC’s role may impact Israel’s relations with other states, especially in Europe.

Palestine’s accession to the ICC may strengthen peace-first approach

By: Leslie Vinjamuri

While civil society pushes a rights-first agenda in Palestine, resistance towards Palestine’s ICC membership suggests that governments may not embrace this approach.

Disputes over foreign funding in Israel mask much deeper issues

By: Dimi Reider
العربية | עברית

If Israeli human rights groups are labeled fronts for foreign interests due to their funding, what does that make Israel itself?

Home, for Algeria’s Jews, is elsewhere

By: Farah Souames
العربية

Intolerance towards Algerian Jews has been driven by geopolitics and history, not religion.

The ICC in Libya – justice delayed and denied

By: Thomas Ebbs & Elham Saudi
العربية

The ICC has issued only 3 indictments in Libya, and no new ones since 2011 – even amidst growing violence. New approaches are needed to make the Court’s mandate ...

In Egypt, human rights need religion

By: Jack Snyder
العربية

Religious progressives are vital for Egypt’s human rights; secular groups can’t do it alone.

Transnational rights violations call for new forms of cooperation

By: Jessica Montell
עברית | Español | Français | العربية

Human rights violations are increasingly transnational, yet there are no organizations addressing human rights in Israel’s foreign policy.

Women’s rights in Tunisia: promising future or religio-political game?

By: Elsy Melkonian
Français | العربية

Women in Tunisia have long enjoyed rights that are very clear on paper. In practice, however, the government’s willingness to enforce these rights seems to depend ...

Religion and human rights - partnership with a dose of pragmatism

By: Adem Kassie Abebe
Français

Religion and human rights need not be completely divorced, or work hand-in-hand all the time. A case-by-case approach, taking into account the realities on the ...

ICC – threat or opportunity for Israel-Palestine?

By: Jessica Montell
العربية | עברית

Palestinian accession to the ICC could provide an impetus for Israel to resolve the issue of settlements in the political arena before it reaches a legal adjudication.

Ebola, human rights, and poverty – making the links

By: Alicia Ely Yamin

The Ebola crisis shows the necessity of a human rights approach to public health that focuses on discrimination and accountability, and the crisis itself has been ...

What do Muslim women want? Finding women’s rights in Islam

By: Xaviera Medina
Español

The Koran proclaims equality between the sexes but also clearly indicates male superiority. In the fight for women’s rights in Islamic societies, how do human rights ...

American Jews, money and the Israel-Palestine conflict

By: Benjy Cannon
العربية | עברית

Although the American Jewish community spends relatively little on human rights work in Israel/Palestine, they are getting serious about promoting a lasting peace ...

For human rights, religious interpretation matters most

By: Iyad Barghouthi
العربية

Religious interpretation is what counts. This explains why Pakistanis vote for female leaders, while Saudi Arabia bans women drivers.

Arguing like Abraham for Gaza’s innocents

By: Rabbi Arik Ascherman
العربية | עברית | Türkçe

Most Israeli Jews support the Gaza war, but the justice of self-defense has created a spiritual myopia among my people. As community and religious leaders, we rabbis ...

Strategic choices facing Israeli rights group during the current war

By: Dahlia Scheindlin
עברית | العربية | Español | Français

How should Israeli rights groups respond to this new war, and to the hatred many Jewish Israelis feel towards them and their work?

Occu-Kashrut and ethical Jewish consumerism

By: Louis Frankenthaler

For some, a boycott of products made in Israeli settlements - Occu-Kashrut - is an ethically motivated act of Jewish religious practice. As a result, Israel’s ...

Faith in rights: ethics of the public square

By: Amyn B. Sajoo

Human rights cannot thrive globally without the support of pluralist religious theologies that are in tune with public culture. In Muslim settings, this means that ...

In Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights address painful paradoxes

By: Rabbi Arik Ascherman
Español | Français | العربية | עברית

In a world where so much blood is shed for religion, Rabbis for Human Rights believes that the Jewish faith must be a force for human rights.

Muslim NGOs, aid, and human rights

By: Marie Juul Petersen 
Español | Français | العربية

Drawing on studies of Muslim aid organisations in Britain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Bangladesh, the author explores how these organisations do and don’t ...

Islamic and UN Bills of Rights: same difference

By: Muhtari Aminu-Kano & Ayaz Ali & Atallah Fitzgibbon
Français | Español | العربية

Despite tension between western notions of individual freedom and Muslim tenets of communal responsibility, there is much common ground to be found in the fight ...

Turkey, the EU, and civil society: An incomplete revolution

By: H. Selen Akçali Uzunhasan
Türkçe

Turkey’s campaign for EU membership has revolutionized funding for its civil society, but there is still a long way to go.

An alternative to international aid

By: Nora Lester Murad
Español | עברית | العربية

Nora Lester Murad describes a new alternative to international aid and domestic charity for Palestine; community directed funds

In defense of 'professional' human rights organizations

By: Fateh Azzam
العربية

Human rights NGOs do not necessarily need to be grassroots social movements. But issues of dependence on foreign funding and corruption that accompany 'professionalization' ...

No shortage of international complicity with Israeli occupation

By: Nora Lester Murad

Aid to Palestine is essentially palliative, intended to maintain a status quo. From that vantage point, aid seems to be remarkably complicit with continued Israeli ...

Anti-ngo legislation in Israel: a first step toward silencing dissent

By: Daniel Sokatch

Ultra-nationalist political parties are yet again trying to crack down on dissenting Israeli NGOs. This is the latest in a longer series of efforts to fundamentally ...

Turkey’s human rights groups in a funding squeeze

By: Murat Çelikkan 
Türkçe

The government often accuses Turkey’s human rights groups of doing the work of “foreign powers,” which scares off local donors. But when rights groups seek foreign ...

Will foreign funding last for those inside Israel who defend the Palestinians?

By: Noam Sheizaf
العربية | עברית

Israel’s human rights organisations depend on foreign funding to defend the rights of the Palestinians. But as the Middle East is increasingly torn by new conflicts, ...

In the Arab region, barriers abound to giving locally

By: Elie Abouaoun
Español | Français | العربية

It’s time for a paradigm shift in the Arab region, where local human rights groups are negatively perceived and donors still resist supporting right based initiatives.

Funding cannot stop rights abuses

By: Lori Allen
Español | العربية | עברית | Türkçe

The work of human rights organisations in the occupied Palestinian territories can never end abuses. Only a political solution that ends the Israeli occupation ...

R2P – hindrance not a help in the Syrian crisis

By: David Petrasek
العربية | Español

The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine has failed to build an international consensus for action to protect civilians in Syria. Worse, R2P’s implicit support ...

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