Middle East and North Africa

Middle East and North Africa

The Arab Spring swept through the region a decade ago, toppling aging dictators and promising to usher in an era of democracy. However, the potential of the people’s movement did not fully come to fruition. Despite new governments in Egypt and Tunisia or reforms in Morocco and Lebanon, respect for human
rights remains low. Moreover, devastating conflicts in Syria and Yemen have not only sparked unprecedented humanitarian disasters but given the region’s rulers another excuse to curtail dissent.

Meanwhile, in countries left untouched by the Arab Spring, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, repression continues unabated. Human rights activists are subjected to wide scale harassment, surveillance, and lengthy prison sentences under vague anti-terrorism laws. Troublingly, even exiled dissidents are not safe –as evidenced by the tragic murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Freedom Now has advocated for the release of 14 prisoners of conscience in the region, 10 of whom have been released. Our work in the region focuses on freedom of expression, the rights of political opposition members, women’s rights, and transnational repression.

Fighting Wrongful Imprisonment

Donate Today and Help Free a Prisoner of Conscience

Can you imagine a doctor being imprisoned just for treating a patient, or a journalist detained simply for publishing an article critical of his government?