Amnesty: Protests, Repression to Continue in Middle East in 2012

Posted January 8th, 2012 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The international human rights group Amnesty International has warned of another year of protests and government repression in the Middle East and North Africa, if the region's rulers do not ensure democratic and human rights for their people.

In a report released in London Monday, the group described how governments across the region were willing in 2011 to deploy extreme violence in an attempt to resist unprecedented calls for fundamental reform. But it said the protest movements have “shown that they will not be fooled by reforms that make little difference.”

Mass uprisings sparked by the self-immolation of a Tunisian vegetable vendor that swept the Arab world last year led to the downfall of presidents Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. Amnesty called on those countries to make sure the past abuses are not repeated.

The report highlighted the policies of governments elsewhere, notably in Syria, that remained “grimly determined” to cling to power “at any cost in human lives and dignity.”

Amnesty said international and regional bodies such as the African Union, Arab League and EU have been “inconsistent” in their response, and have “failed to grasp the depth of the challenge.”

Despite this, Amnesty said, the refusal of ordinary people “to be deterred from their struggle for dignity and justice is what gives us hope for 2012.”