Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

Human Rights

Israel’s Permanent Siege of Gaza

The devastating human and health consequences of intervention by deprivation are noted in Ron Smith’s account of Israel’s decade-long siege of Gaza, whose dynamics are similar to the catastrophic sanctions regime imposed by the United States on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War and the siege warfare utilized by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Egypt’s Arrested Battlegrounds

Wael Eskandar 02.7.2019

While mass arrests and arbitrary detentions are nothing new to Egypt, the escalation and widening pattern of arrests over the past year indicate that the authoritarian mindset of the Egyptian regime has significantly changed. Egypt under President Sisi has succeeded in reestablishing authoritarianism in a manner that is far more brutal—and far-reaching—than that of the deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak. Once contested, albeit controlled, battlegrounds for politics are being decimated.

Understanding the course of events and identifying the participants in the battle of Mosul is a difficult task. What is certain is that all parties neglected the fate of civilians and were unable to provide proper emergency medical relief. An examination of the battle is crucial to understanding the evolution of international humanitarian law in conflict zones.

The UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food surveys the catastrophic state of hunger and malnutrition and their man-made causes—war and conflict, climate change, massive displacement and global economic inequality. The paradox of this landscape of desperate need is that the world produces more than enough food to feed the planet, but the poor cannot afford it.

From the Editors (Spring 2018)

Humanitarianism, as presently conceived, can never provide a solution to global inequity that is one of the deepest roots of global suffering. That there is no existing means to counter the vast inequality of resources and the unequal distribution of vulnerability...

Radix Malorum est Cupiditas

James Spencer 04.3.2018

The last three years have been a time of outright misery for most Yemenis as War, Pestilence, Famine and Death have stalked what used to be known as Arabia Felix. Thousands are recorded as having been killed; tens of thousands more are known to have died. Millions are starved by a siege, and—weakened by hunger—are more vulnerable to diseases which are but fading memories in the “civilised” West. And for what?

Striking for Dignity and Freedom

Amahl Bishara 05.5.2017
More than 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners began a hunger strike on April 17 for better conditions inside Israeli jails. Their demands include access to education, proper medical care and an end to the practice of solitary confinement. They are striking to make...

Release Homa Hoodfar

The Editors 06.10.2016
We are deeply concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of Homa Hoodfar, an eminent anthropologist and contributor to Middle East Report, by the Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hoodfar traveled to Iran in early 2016 to visit family and...

Jordan Drops the Pretense of Democratic Reform

Despite promises otherwise, in the past four years, King ‘Abdallah has peeled the veneer of parliamentary governance off an increasingly autocratic system.

Your Tax Dollars Enable Police Brutality Abroad

Chris Toensing 03.9.2016

Ever since the Black Lives Matter movement exploded into the headlines, violence by American police officers has come under fire from activists and ordinary citizens alike. Less discussed, however, is how the US government winks at the police brutality of its client states abroad.

The military government in Egypt, for example, is cracking down hard on its restive citizenry—harder than any time in memory. And the United States, which sends the country over a $1 billion a year in security aid, is looking the other way.

The cops on the beat in Egyptian cities are a menace. They demand bribes from motorists on any pretense and mete out lethal violence on a whim.

Defending Academic Freedom

Laurie A. Brand 02.23.2016

Constraints on academic freedom or violations of it are not new in the Middle East and North Africa. Indeed, while there is certainly variation among the countries of the region, regime attempts to control what is studied, how it is studied, and what faculty and students may do and say both on and off campus have a long history.

Scholars of Egypt Protest Crackdown on Freedom of Expression

11.18.2015
November 18, 2015
 
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Arab Republic of Egypt
 
Ahmed al-Zind
Minister of Justice, Arab Republic of Egypt
 
Sedky Sobhy
Minister of Defense, Arab Republic of Egypt
 
Yasser Reda
Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United States
 

Release Hossam Bahgat

The Editors 11.9.2015

UPDATE: Hossam Bahgat was released from detention at midday Cairo time on November 10. It is uncertain whether the charges against him are still pending. We will post further updates as warranted.

Iran’s Unfair Nationality Laws

Narges Bajoghli 11.9.2015

At an October meeting of young Iranian-American leaders at the residence of the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, I asked Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif about the country’s unfair nationality laws. By these statutes, no Iranian woman married to a non-Iranian man can pass on her citizenship to her children, whereas an Iranian man can pass it on not only to his children, but also to a non-Iranian wife.

LGBT Rights in Iran

Shima Houshyar 10.21.2015

Over the last two decades, issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity have gained significant visibility and attention across the globe. The case of Iran is particularly fraught, and has received plenty of coverage due to the work of international non-profits.

“A Beast That Took a Break and Came Back”

Aida Seif al-Dawla is a psychiatrist whose fight for citizens’ rights and dignity in Egypt has taken many forms since her days as a student activist in the 1970s. In 1993, she founded the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, of which she remains executive director. Lina Attalah, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Mada Masr, spoke with Seif al-Dawla in early April 2015 about the prevalence of torture in Egypt and the latest state attempts to restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations.

Letter of Support by Colleagues and Personal Friends of Emad Shahin

05.27.2015

For those familiar with even the barest facts of the case, the provisional sentence of Emad al-Din Shahin to death seems appalling. Professor Shahin is a widely respected and accomplished academic who has taught at Notre Dame, Harvard, Georgetown, the American University in Cairo and George Washington University. He has no record of organized political activity. The list of the other alleged participants—a group that resembles a list of political opponents and associates and technocratic aides of ousted President Muhammad Mursi far more than it does a real set of plotters—makes the charges seem even more improbable.

Reexamining Human Rights Change in Egypt

Over five tumultuous years in Egypt, the independent human rights community moved from a fairly parochial role chipping away at the Mubarak regime’s legitimacy, one torture case at a time, to media stardom in 2011, and from fielding a presidential candidate, who won over 134,000 votes, in 2012 to facing closure and the risk of prosecution two years later.

The Long Shadow of the CIA at Guantanamo

‘Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a designated “high-value detainee” in US government parlance, is on trial in the Guantánamo Bay military commissions. The 49-year old Saudi Arabian is accused of directing the October 2000 al-Qaeda suicide boat bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Aden, Yemen, which killed 17 sailors and injured 40 more, and a failed plan to bomb the USS Sullivans. Five other high-value detainees, including alleged “mastermind” Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, are being tried together for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. All six could face the death penalty if convicted.

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