The Arab uprisings and the future of human rights

Authored by: Micheline Ishay

Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and the Middle East and North Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138807679
eBook ISBN: 9781315750972
Adobe ISBN: 9781317613763


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In 2011, the Arab uprisings spread throughout the Middle East like a Khamsin storm. From the Maghrebian desert to the Arabian Peninsula, Arab regimes toppled one after the other like sandcastles. After many decades of oppression, expectations soared for a new era of human rights in the region. Within less than two years, however, the Arab Spring had turned into a brutal winter. Hopes for a nascent Egyptian democracy collapsed, sliding back into fears, and fears into greater repression. Throughout the region, struggles for human rights were superseded by entrenched authoritarianism and religious extremism. In 2014 alone, over 100,000 people were killed in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Gaza, making it one of the bloodiest years in Middle East history. Millions were forced from their homes, creating an intractable refugee crisis with no end in sight.

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