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The of an intellectual awakening so called the

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The
rise of the popular revolts in the Arab Spring is an occurrence that took the
world by surprise.  There is no doubt
that the Middle East and parts of the North Africa had presented some
indications of a political crisis, but the extent, magnitude and effect of the
rise and the spread of the popular uprising was not anticipated (Goldstein,
2016). The major reason why the Arab Spring revolts took the world by surprise
is because the Middle East and the North Africa largely constitutes
authoritarian regimes, making it difficult to envision the rise of the people
against such rule. Nevertheless, the rise of the uprising in the Arab Spring
was a call for human dignity, which started with one Tunisian citizen setting
himself ablaze after an altercation with the police. In
December 2010, Mohamad Bouazizi, set himself on fire due to the oppression and
abuse he was facing from the Tunisian government. That action was the spark and
the beginning of an intellectual awakening so called the Arab Spring. The Arab
Spring was the uprising of many citizens of the arab countries. Furthermore, the outcome was the unprecedented
spread of the uprisings throughout Tunisia and outside of its borders to as far
as Syria, Yemen, Algeria and Egypt (Goldstein, 2016). Those
countries had an uprising and revolutionary movement on their injustice and
unfair governmental systems. Systems that did not recognise the basic human
rights and their duties and responsibilities towards their citizens. Nevertheless, the most outstanding
aspect of the Arab Springs uprisings is that the demonstrations and protests
were met with excessive police force and brutality, without any exception in
relation to the country of jurisdiction (Bakrania, 2011). The heavy-handedness
tactic applied by the security forces resulted in the injuries, disabilities
and deaths of many protestors across all the jurisdictions.  In this respect, there were various aspects
of human rights violations perpetrated during the Arab uprisings, whose effect
is still being felt to present day (Bakrania, 2011). This essay will discuss
the effect of politics on civilians, the human rights violations executed by the
governmental systems of countries  where
there were uprisings and whether the Arab spring resulted in human rights
violations or it was a result of human rights violations itself.

 

 

 

Human Rights
Violations in the Arab Springs Uprising

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The
human rights violations in the Arab Spring took different forms, but
collectively, a number of different human rights violations were committed in
the countries affected by the uprising. The human rights violations in the Arab
Spring uprising include:

 

 

 

Use of Excessive
Force against Civilians

 

The
rise of the uprising in the Arab Spring was met with unparalleled force,
brutality and ruthlessness by the security forces and the supporters of the
regimes that were targeted by the protests and demonstrations. The outcome is
that following the uprisings, the security forces and the supporters of the
regimes targeted for ousting met the demonstrators and protestors with
excessive force, mooting untold violence on the protestors (Howard &
Hussain, 2013). The outcome of the violent response by the security forces
against the demonstrators and supporters was the death and injury of many
people. For example, in Egypt alone, over 840 protestors are recorded to have
been killed by the violent force of the uniformed and plain clothes security
officials while an additional 6,000 protestors were injured and maimed, within
the first 18 days of the protests (Amnesty International, 2016). The use of
excessive and violent force against the civilians was also repeated in all the
other countries where the Arab Spring uprisings occurred such as Syria, Algeria
and Tunisia resulting in the injury, death and maiming of thousands of the
protesters and demonstrators (Goldstein, 2016). The use of excessive force
against the civilians is a violation of Article 2 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (1948), which prohibits discrimination against the enjoyment of
basic human freedoms and fundamental rights, such as the right to the freedom
of expression and association (UNHRC, 2016).

 

Arbitrary
executions

 

The
Arab Spring uprisings were characterized by massive human rights violations in
the form of arbitrary human executions, which is a violation of Article 3 of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), providing that every human
has the right to life, security and liberty (UNHRC, 2016).  The worst form of arbitrary executions and
killing of civilians was experienced in Egypt and Syria, where hundreds of
civilians were executed by either the security forces or the supporters of the
regimes targeted for ousting by the protests (Dorman & Smith, 2012). For
example, in Syria, it is estimated that over 250,000 civilians have been
killed; most of them through the government’s civilian bombing (Amnesty
International, 2016). Additionally, most of the protestors who were arrested by
the security forces were subsequently executed. For example, the Syrian records
indicates that over 65,000 people who were arrested by the government forces
are currently missing (Amnesty International, 2016). The killing of civilians
also extends to the acts of targeted assassinations of journalists and other
civil rights activist in countries such as Libya, where massive crackdown on
the freedom of press and dissention by the human rights organizations has been
extensive (Amnesty International, 2016).

 

Arbitrary arrests
of the human rights activists and journalists

 

The
Arab Spring was characterized by a spontaneity that has remained difficult to
explain. Once the crisis started in Tunisia, it spread to the rest of the
countries in the Middle East and the North Africa in a pace that was so
unprecedented, thus catching everyone by surprise.  Some of the parties that were caught by
surprise were the journalists and the human rights activists, who were taken to
task to move from one jurisdiction to another, covering the development of the
uprisings as they spread through the Arab Spring (Grote, Ro?der & El-Haj,
2016). Nevertheless, their continued movement from one jurisdiction to the
other put them at an increasingly great risk of retaliation by the
authoritarian regimes against whom the demonstrations and protests were
directed. In retaliation, the authoritarian regimes used their security forces
to arrest and prosecute human rights activists and journalists arbitrarily,
across the whole Arab Spring region (Hamd, 2016). Consequently, most human
rights activists and journalists remain in custody in many countries affected
by the Arab Spring uprising, such as Yemen, Algeria and Egypt (Amnesty
International, 2016).  The arrest and
prosecution of the human rights activists and journalists in these countries
was a violation of the international law on human rights under Article 9 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which prohibits arbitrary arrest
or detention by a state, unless an individual has actually committed a crime
and is subjected to the due process of the law (UNHRC, 2016).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arbitrary
Detention

 

One
of the major human rights violations that have characterized the Arab Spring
uprisings is the unlawful and arbitrary detentions (Panara & Wilson, 2013).
The arbitrary arrests of protestors, human rights defenders and journalists in
most of the jurisdictions were accompanied by massive illegal detentions. Most
of the detainees were politicians with opposing views, visiting journalists,
human rights defenders and protestors against the regimes.  A number of journalists from the global media
organizations were held in detention for extended periods of up to several
weeks (Amnesty International, 2016). For example, in Libya, many media
organizations have been attacked, set ablaze and journalists arrested and
detained without trial for months. Furthermore, there are tens of thousands of
the supporters of Hosni Mubarak, Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood who are currently
unlawfully detained and locked up in Egypt, and are continuing to be denied the
right for trial (Amnesty International, 2016). The situation of unlawful
detention is not different in Algeria, where there are hundreds of civilians,
human rights defenders, journalists and politicians with opposing views who are
detained under very harsh conditions (Goldstein, 2016). Abstract and unlawful
detention is against the international human rights law under Article 5 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that prohibits torture, cruel,
degrading and inhuman treatment or punishment of humans (UNHRC, 2016).

 

Sexual violence
and ill-treatment

 

Sexual
violence and ill treatment has been a common human rights violation across all
the countries that were affected by the Arab Spring uprising (Kritsiotis,
2013). Women and children are the most affected by sexual violence and
ill-treatment perpetrated by both the illegal gangs and groups that have sprung
in most of the jurisdictions, as well as the security forces. The outcome is
that most vulnerable populations of women and children have been forced to
exile by the sexual violence and ill-treatment. For example, in Libya, there
are over 2.5 million people who are in need of humanitarian assistance, and
they are constantly exposed to sexual violence and ill-treatment as immigrants,
asylum-seekers and refugees (Amnesty International, 2016). Additionally, there
are over 435,000 internally displaced people in Libya living in make-shift
camps (Amnesty International, 2016). There people are constantly exploited
sexually by the gangs and the illegal groups rampantly spread in Libya (Panara
& Wilson, 2013). The situation is even worse in Syria, where there are over
11 million people, constituting of 7 million domestically in Syria and over 4
million refugees exiled in other countries, who have been exposed to sexual
violence and ill-treatment along the smuggling and migration routes (Amnesty
International, 2016).

 

 

 

Human Rights
Violations Case Studies: Syria, Libya and Yemen:

 

 

Syria

 

Syria
has registered the most grave and massive human rights violations since the
Arab Spring uprising (Goldstein, 2016). The atrocities committed towards the
civilians in terms of arbitrary executions, use of excessive force and other
forms of human rights violations such as lack of access to medical treatment
has seen 50% of the Syrian population displaced (Amnesty International, 2016).
Since 15 March 2011, over 250,000 people who are mostly civilians have been
killed, while an additional 11 million people have been exiled from Syria, in
one of the highly grave human crisis recorded in modern day humanitarian crisis
(Amnesty International, 2016). Countries in the Middle East, but mostly in
Europe and U.S. have been forced to receive unprecedented number of refugees.
The Syrian human rights violations have been worsened by civilian bombings with
“banned chemical weapons” and arbitrary executions that have seen over 65,000
arrested people go missing from the government records (Amnesty International,
2016).  Also, that lead to the formation
of terrorist groups such as ISIS which has abducted, raped and terrorized
civilians on a massive scale, resulting in the increased refugee crisis that
Syria is facing to present day, because most of the Syrian territory are under
the control of the insurgent groups. So, the Syrians are in between two
terrorist group one which is ISIS and the other is the governmental system led
by the illegitimate president Bashar Alassad.

 

Libya

 

Libya
has registered human rights violations on a large scale, especially in relation
to the violation of the international standards of journalism and freedom of
press (Hamd, 2016). The human rights violations in Libya are largely
perpetrated by newly emergent militia groups after the country was destabilized
following the 2011 conflicts. The result is that the militias are committing
serious human rights abuses such as setting media houses ablaze, directly
attacking and injuring, maiming and killing civilians, and destroying their
property (Amnesty International, 2016). Further, the militias have mooted
serious sexual violence and ill-treatment on the migrants and refugees in their
smuggling points, as they seek to escape the hostile environment of Libya. Over
2.5 million people in Libya are facing serious humanitarian crisis that entail
the need for food, water, sanitation and shelter (Amnesty International, 2016).
Additionally, illegal arrests and detention have occurred on a massive scale in
Libya, with thousands of the Gaddafi supporters having being arrested and
detained without any trial for over 5 years now (Amnesty International, 2016).

 

Yemen

 

The
Yemen crisis has remained an unforgotten war, but within it, there are major
human rights violations and crisis being suffered especially by the civilians
(Goldstein, 2016). For example, since the crisis started, the attacks led by
the previous president Ali Abdullah Saleh have indiscriminately targeted
civilians, resulting in the death of an estimated 2,500 civilians. Internally,
the Saleh’s forces have also committed human atrocities on a massive scale,
such as indiscriminately shooting and killing demonstrators before Ali Saleh’s
step down and giving up the power to call for an election (Panara & Wilson,
2013). For example,in 18 March 2011, an indiscriminate attack targeting
civilians in Sana’a left 52 people dead, while hundred others were injured and
maimed in Sana’a. On the other hand, the Huthi militia has staged numerous
civilian attacks in mosques and other public places, resulting in the death of
many civilians.  The Huthi militia have constantly
staged bombings that have resulted in the death of many civilians (Amnesty
International, 2016). On the other hand, the sea and land blockades by the same
forces has resulted in the Yemeni civilians suffering from atrocities, human
rights abuses and enter a crisis of basic needs due to lack of an exile route.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

The
Arab Spring uprising caught the world by surprise, and its effect in terms of
human rights violations has been far-reaching. The Arab spring human rights
violations consisted of arbitrary arrests and detentions of journalists, human
right defenders, politicians with opposing views and protestors. The other
forms of human rights violations committed following the Arab spring uprising
include the use of excessive force against the civilians, the arbitrary
execution of the civilians, sexual and ill-treatment of the civilians. Despite
the fact that the Arab Spring uprising were both spontaneous and unprecedented,
they occurred as a call for dignified treatment of the people by the ruling
regimes. Following the uprising, millions of people have been displaced and
exiled, while hundreds of thousands have been killed and yet many more injured
and maimed. The human rights violations in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and other
countries such as Bahrain and Algeria, but especially in Syria, are among the
worst in the history of the world. Lastly, the human rights violations
practiced by the governmental systems before the Arab spring is what lead to
such uprising though it needed a wake up call. In that case, abouazizi setting
himself on fire was the wake up call. So after all, a disregard to human rights
is what lead to a disregard to human rights.

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