Term Paper: Human Rights in the Arab

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[. . .] There was even a statement that said that nearly 1000's of people were in prison due to political detainment and hundreds of others were missing. The fact that Syrian law does not allow the condemned to stand for oneself in the court of law and the fact that most of the judges and law bearers are corrupted goes to show the pitiful state of the Syrian citizens. Again the Kurdish Minority people of Syria, are not even granted their civil rights, an excellent example of this is the fact that they do not even posses their own land. The Press in Syria does not even have the freedom and most of the intellectuals in this region are constantly observed. Its laws constantly oppress Lebanon which is under Syrian rule. The inmates in the prisons of Lebanon are tortured to an unspeakable extent. The Christians in this region are tormented to an extreme. People of Palestinian origin in Lebanon are not allowed to own land and other property. 14

13. "World Conference against Racism" Durban. 1999 Retrieved from http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0kef0 Accessed on 03/04/3004

14. "World Conference against Racism" Durban. 1999 Retrieved from http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0kef0 Accessed on 03/04/3004

Next, in a country like Iran, which calls itself an Islamic nation, human rights are violated at every corner, and the UN press condemns it at every opportune moment. Even the press in this region does not have its required freedom; the rulers having shut down 40 newspapers. When any person stands as a political opposite he is just killed by secret agents. Also the religious minorities like the Christians, Baha's, and the Jews are massacred, along with the fact that the ethnic minorities like the Azeris, Arabs, Kurds and Baluchi's are thought of as low-grade citizens. The women in this region are treated very badly and these women even wonder as to if their state would be the same like those in Afghanistan. 15

While analyzing Palestine, we find that the entire regime of Palestine is governed by a lot of security services that adopts its organizational policies from dictators in the Arab World. The government in these regions does not even give any sort of respect for human rights or government accountability. The Palestinian jails are places of torture and the press is not given its due respect or freedom. If the press criticizes, they were immediately reckoned with. For example, in 2001, the Qatari Tv station and the Al-Jazeera had to shut down because they spoke against Chairman Arafat. When it comes to Saudi Arabia, it could be found that the Wahhabi Sunni tribe has the authority. In this region no one is allowed to oppose the political rules. The Sharia is regarded as the legal code and all-important decisions are taken based on this, also severe punishments are impeded to those who dare to go against this have to face punishments like amputation, whipping and even execution. The Christians do not have the right to follow their religion too and the Shia community is strictly regularised.16

15. "World Conference against Racism" Durban. 1999 Retrieved from http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0kef0 Accessed on 03/04/3004

16. "World Conference against Racism" Durban. 1999 Retrieved from http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0kef0 Accessed on 03/04/3004

With regard to shi'ites, they are ill treated in Bahrain and in the United Arab Emirates too but in places like Iraq, and Saudi Arabia the most common episodes are found. In Iraq, they are not even allowed to print Shi'ite books and individuals following the religion are not even allowed to conduct meetings on their holy days. In 1991 it was said that the Iranians had destroyed a lot of mosques and holy shi'ite shrines and also forced a lot of people to relocate elsewhere. A lot of other residential buildings were harmed along with the pollution of the water with poison. Similarly in Saudi Arabia the same laws apply. People who are seen to use objects for shi'ite prayers are punished and the shi'ite version of religion is considered unholy and people following it are punished. Even the public school textbooks and commonly available books or the fatwas openly insult and degrade the shi'ite religion itself. A lot of these people are forced to convert from their religion and also are beleaguered and tortured if they don't. This has been most commonly noticed when they go on their holy pilgrimage- "haj." 17

It could also be noticed that the Arab women are the least of the lot to actually utilize their capabilities politically and economically. In some of these Arab countries even till date women are not allowed to elect or hold office. Also degrading is the fact that nearly half the women population in Arab countries can neither read nor write. Research also went on to prove that the Arab Parliament has only 3.4% of women representatives in them. In all of these Arab Countries the Sharia, the Islamic Law, governs the life of those living there. This law states that women are inferior to men and hence do not have a right to personal freedom and rights. 18

17. "World Conference against Racism" Durban. 1999 Retrieved from http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0kef0 Accessed on 03/04/3004

18. Mitchell G. Bard. "Myths & Facts Online: Human Rights in Arab Countries." Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/myths/mf16.html Accessed on 03/04/3004

As stated by Daniel Pipes, an expert on Middle East, comments that the women as of the Islamic culture is thought of as very dangerous and her sexuality is feared of. So the men are instilled in a need to suppress them and control their lives. In various Arab countries there are a lot of laws that are injustice to women kind. In Syria, a man can prevent his wife from actually leaving the country. In other countries like Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Oman and Yemen, the women need to get written permission from their husbands to be able to travel out of their countries. In Saudi Arabia the women need to get in writing permission from their closest male relative alive to travel even from one place of the country to the other. Constant pressure is placed on the rulers in these regions to improvise on their laws and make necessary amends in terms of human rights and women's rights in particular. Steps have also been taken in this regard. 19

Angela King, the Assistant to the Vice Secretary general of the UN made an appeal to the Arab Nations to make amends and grant women more rights. When constant international pressure is placed on these Arab Nations they just make small changes in their women status but do not really go the long way and make proper and necessary changes for the women in the country. Most of the changes made are just minute and do not in any way affect the conservatism that is followed in the Nations. 20 Some changes have been adopted un the various Arab countries like the United Arab Emirates when it comes to human rights, free speech and also right to an assembly. The people in these countries have valued most of these changes. But still it cannot be said that they have been fulfilled in terms of human rights to the fullest extent. 21

19. Mitchell G. Bard. "Myths & Facts Online: Human Rights in Arab Countries." Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/myths/mf16.html Accessed on 03/04/3004

20. Mitchell G. Bard. "Myths & Facts Online: Human Rights in Arab Countries." Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved from http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/myths/mf16.html Accessed on 03/04/3004

21. "Human Rights and Modern Arab States." Thinking Clearly. Retrieved from http://www.habtoor.com/thinkingclearly/html/issue42.htm Issue 42 / September 2001 Accessed on 03/04/3004

In order to be able to make their countries fully compliant with human rights it is important that these Arab nations try to implement changes that would bring about a change in the attitudes and behavior of the individuals in the country, and the best way to do it would be to establish a community on human rights as it is only after this that they can actually stand up for their rights in the international community. 22

The human rights commission will have the power to actually intervene in the state government and see to it that an individual is given his rights and is not done injustice to. The various countries that compromise of the Arab world has always equally treated the societies legitimate need for collective national security when thinking of it from an individual's dignity and security. This seems to be the major problems faced by the Arab community as they do not take the necessary steps required to induce human rights into their constitution and hence in a world where human rights are being constantly upgraded form its position, the Arab world will have to be left behind because of their discrimination against human rights in their countries.23

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