Therise of the popular revolts in the Arab Spring is an occurrence that took theworld by surprise. There is no doubtthat the Middle East and parts of the North Africa had presented someindications of a political crisis, but the extent, magnitude and effect of therise and the spread of the popular uprising was not anticipated (Goldstein,2016). The major reason why the Arab Spring revolts took the world by surpriseis because the Middle East and the North Africa largely constitutesauthoritarian regimes, making it difficult to envision the rise of the peopleagainst such rule. Nevertheless, the rise of the uprising in the Arab Springwas a call for human dignity, which started with one Tunisian citizen settinghimself ablaze after an altercation with the police. InDecember 2010, Mohamad Bouazizi, set himself on fire due to the oppression andabuse he was facing from the Tunisian government.
That action was the spark andthe beginning of an intellectual awakening so called the Arab Spring. The ArabSpring was the uprising of many citizens of the arab countries. Furthermore, the outcome was the unprecedentedspread of the uprisings throughout Tunisia and outside of its borders to as faras Syria, Yemen, Algeria and Egypt (Goldstein, 2016). Thosecountries had an uprising and revolutionary movement on their injustice andunfair governmental systems. Systems that did not recognise the basic humanrights and their duties and responsibilities towards their citizens.
Nevertheless, the most outstandingaspect of the Arab Springs uprisings is that the demonstrations and protestswere met with excessive police force and brutality, without any exception inrelation to the country of jurisdiction (Bakrania, 2011). The heavy-handednesstactic applied by the security forces resulted in the injuries, disabilitiesand deaths of many protestors across all the jurisdictions. In this respect, there were various aspectsof human rights violations perpetrated during the Arab uprisings, whose effectis still being felt to present day (Bakrania, 2011). This essay will discussthe effect of politics on civilians, the human rights violations executed by thegovernmental systems of countries wherethere were uprisings and whether the Arab spring resulted in human rightsviolations or it was a result of human rights violations itself. Human RightsViolations in the Arab Springs Uprising Thehuman rights violations in the Arab Spring took different forms, butcollectively, a number of different human rights violations were committed inthe countries affected by the uprising. The human rights violations in the ArabSpring uprising include: Use of ExcessiveForce against Civilians Therise of the uprising in the Arab Spring was met with unparalleled force,brutality and ruthlessness by the security forces and the supporters of theregimes that were targeted by the protests and demonstrations. The outcome isthat following the uprisings, the security forces and the supporters of theregimes targeted for ousting met the demonstrators and protestors withexcessive force, mooting untold violence on the protestors (Howard &Hussain, 2013).
The outcome of the violent response by the security forcesagainst the demonstrators and supporters was the death and injury of manypeople. For example, in Egypt alone, over 840 protestors are recorded to havebeen killed by the violent force of the uniformed and plain clothes securityofficials while an additional 6,000 protestors were injured and maimed, withinthe first 18 days of the protests (Amnesty International, 2016). The use ofexcessive and violent force against the civilians was also repeated in all theother countries where the Arab Spring uprisings occurred such as Syria, Algeriaand Tunisia resulting in the injury, death and maiming of thousands of theprotesters and demonstrators (Goldstein, 2016).
The use of excessive forceagainst the civilians is a violation of Article 2 of the Universal Declarationof Human Rights (1948), which prohibits discrimination against the enjoyment ofbasic human freedoms and fundamental rights, such as the right to the freedomof expression and association (UNHRC, 2016). Arbitraryexecutions TheArab Spring uprisings were characterized by massive human rights violations inthe form of arbitrary human executions, which is a violation of Article 3 ofthe Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), providing that every humanhas the right to life, security and liberty (UNHRC, 2016). The worst form of arbitrary executions andkilling of civilians was experienced in Egypt and Syria, where hundreds ofcivilians were executed by either the security forces or the supporters of theregimes targeted for ousting by the protests (Dorman & Smith, 2012). Forexample, in Syria, it is estimated that over 250,000 civilians have beenkilled; most of them through the government’s civilian bombing (AmnestyInternational, 2016). Additionally, most of the protestors who were arrested bythe security forces were subsequently executed. For example, the Syrian recordsindicates that over 65,000 people who were arrested by the government forcesare currently missing (Amnesty International, 2016). The killing of civiliansalso extends to the acts of targeted assassinations of journalists and othercivil rights activist in countries such as Libya, where massive crackdown onthe freedom of press and dissention by the human rights organizations has beenextensive (Amnesty International, 2016). Arbitrary arrestsof the human rights activists and journalists TheArab Spring was characterized by a spontaneity that has remained difficult toexplain.
Once the crisis started in Tunisia, it spread to the rest of thecountries in the Middle East and the North Africa in a pace that was sounprecedented, thus catching everyone by surprise. Some of the parties that were caught bysurprise were the journalists and the human rights activists, who were taken totask to move from one jurisdiction to another, covering the development of theuprisings as they spread through the Arab Spring (Grote, Ro?der & El-Haj,2016). Nevertheless, their continued movement from one jurisdiction to theother put them at an increasingly great risk of retaliation by theauthoritarian regimes against whom the demonstrations and protests weredirected. In retaliation, the authoritarian regimes used their security forcesto arrest and prosecute human rights activists and journalists arbitrarily,across the whole Arab Spring region (Hamd, 2016). Consequently, most humanrights activists and journalists remain in custody in many countries affectedby the Arab Spring uprising, such as Yemen, Algeria and Egypt (AmnestyInternational, 2016).
The arrest andprosecution of the human rights activists and journalists in these countrieswas a violation of the international law on human rights under Article 9 of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which prohibits arbitrary arrestor detention by a state, unless an individual has actually committed a crimeand is subjected to the due process of the law (UNHRC, 2016). ArbitraryDetention Oneof the major human rights violations that have characterized the Arab Springuprisings is the unlawful and arbitrary detentions (Panara & Wilson, 2013).The arbitrary arrests of protestors, human rights defenders and journalists inmost of the jurisdictions were accompanied by massive illegal detentions. Mostof the detainees were politicians with opposing views, visiting journalists,human rights defenders and protestors against the regimes. A number of journalists from the global mediaorganizations were held in detention for extended periods of up to severalweeks (Amnesty International, 2016). For example, in Libya, many mediaorganizations have been attacked, set ablaze and journalists arrested anddetained without trial for months.
Furthermore, there are tens of thousands ofthe supporters of Hosni Mubarak, Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood who are currentlyunlawfully detained and locked up in Egypt, and are continuing to be denied theright for trial (Amnesty International, 2016). The situation of unlawfuldetention is not different in Algeria, where there are hundreds of civilians,human rights defenders, journalists and politicians with opposing views who aredetained under very harsh conditions (Goldstein, 2016). Abstract and unlawfuldetention is against the international human rights law under Article 5 of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that prohibits torture, cruel,degrading and inhuman treatment or punishment of humans (UNHRC, 2016). Sexual violenceand ill-treatment Sexualviolence and ill treatment has been a common human rights violation across allthe countries that were affected by the Arab Spring uprising (Kritsiotis,2013). Women and children are the most affected by sexual violence andill-treatment perpetrated by both the illegal gangs and groups that have sprungin most of the jurisdictions, as well as the security forces. The outcome isthat most vulnerable populations of women and children have been forced toexile by the sexual violence and ill-treatment. For example, in Libya, thereare over 2.
5 million people who are in need of humanitarian assistance, andthey are constantly exposed to sexual violence and ill-treatment as immigrants,asylum-seekers and refugees (Amnesty International, 2016). Additionally, thereare over 435,000 internally displaced people in Libya living in make-shiftcamps (Amnesty International, 2016). There people are constantly exploitedsexually by the gangs and the illegal groups rampantly spread in Libya (Panara& Wilson, 2013). The situation is even worse in Syria, where there are over11 million people, constituting of 7 million domestically in Syria and over 4million refugees exiled in other countries, who have been exposed to sexualviolence and ill-treatment along the smuggling and migration routes (AmnestyInternational, 2016). Human RightsViolations Case Studies: Syria, Libya and Yemen: Syria Syriahas registered the most grave and massive human rights violations since theArab Spring uprising (Goldstein, 2016). The atrocities committed towards thecivilians in terms of arbitrary executions, use of excessive force and otherforms of human rights violations such as lack of access to medical treatmenthas seen 50% of the Syrian population displaced (Amnesty International, 2016).Since 15 March 2011, over 250,000 people who are mostly civilians have beenkilled, while an additional 11 million people have been exiled from Syria, inone of the highly grave human crisis recorded in modern day humanitarian crisis(Amnesty International, 2016). Countries in the Middle East, but mostly inEurope 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 65,000arrested people go missing from the government records (Amnesty International,2016). Also, that lead to the formationof terrorist groups such as ISIS which has abducted, raped and terrorizedcivilians on a massive scale, resulting in the increased refugee crisis thatSyria is facing to present day, because most of the Syrian territory are underthe control of the insurgent groups. So, the Syrians are in between twoterrorist group one which is ISIS and the other is the governmental system ledby the illegitimate president Bashar Alassad. Libya Libyahas registered human rights violations on a large scale, especially in relationto the violation of the international standards of journalism and freedom ofpress (Hamd, 2016). The human rights violations in Libya are largelyperpetrated by newly emergent militia groups after the country was destabilizedfollowing the 2011 conflicts. The result is that the militias are committingserious human rights abuses such as setting media houses ablaze, directlyattacking and injuring, maiming and killing civilians, and destroying theirproperty (Amnesty International, 2016).
Further, the militias have mootedserious sexual violence and ill-treatment on the migrants and refugees in theirsmuggling points, as they seek to escape the hostile environment of Libya. Over2.5 million people in Libya are facing serious humanitarian crisis that entailthe need for food, water, sanitation and shelter (Amnesty International, 2016).Additionally, illegal arrests and detention have occurred on a massive scale inLibya, with thousands of the Gaddafi supporters having being arrested anddetained without any trial for over 5 years now (Amnesty International, 2016). Yemen TheYemen crisis has remained an unforgotten war, but within it, there are majorhuman rights violations and crisis being suffered especially by the civilians(Goldstein, 2016). For example, since the crisis started, the attacks led bythe previous president Ali Abdullah Saleh have indiscriminately targetedcivilians, 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’sstep down and giving up the power to call for an election (Panara & Wilson,2013).
For example,in 18 March 2011, an indiscriminate attack targetingcivilians in Sana’a left 52 people dead, while hundred others were injured andmaimed in Sana’a. On the other hand, the Huthi militia has staged numerouscivilian attacks in mosques and other public places, resulting in the death ofmany civilians. The Huthi militia have constantlystaged bombings that have resulted in the death of many civilians (AmnestyInternational, 2016). On the other hand, the sea and land blockades by the sameforces has resulted in the Yemeni civilians suffering from atrocities, humanrights abuses and enter a crisis of basic needs due to lack of an exile route.
Conclusion TheArab Spring uprising caught the world by surprise, and its effect in terms ofhuman rights violations has been far-reaching. The Arab spring human rightsviolations consisted of arbitrary arrests and detentions of journalists, humanright defenders, politicians with opposing views and protestors. The otherforms of human rights violations committed following the Arab spring uprisinginclude the use of excessive force against the civilians, the arbitraryexecution of the civilians, sexual and ill-treatment of the civilians. Despitethe fact that the Arab Spring uprising were both spontaneous and unprecedented,they occurred as a call for dignified treatment of the people by the rulingregimes. Following the uprising, millions of people have been displaced andexiled, while hundreds of thousands have been killed and yet many more injuredand maimed.
The human rights violations in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and othercountries such as Bahrain and Algeria, but especially in Syria, are among theworst in the history of the world. Lastly, the human rights violationspracticed by the governmental systems before the Arab spring is what lead tosuch uprising though it needed a wake up call. In that case, abouazizi settinghimself on fire was the wake up call. So after all, a disregard to human rightsis what lead to a disregard to human rights.