The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) organized the 8th Regional Forum of the Arab Human Rights Movement held in Beirut, Lebanon from March 19 to March 22. The Forum this year came in parallel with the Arab Summit, focusing mainly on political reform initiatives in the Arab region. Different means to reform the Arab League were discussed from the perspective of civil society, and from stance of civil society organizations in the draft of the Arab Charter for Human Rights.
The Association for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms and the Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO) cooperated in the Forum, with 87 participants, 74 of whom are representatives from 52 organizations and institutions in thirteen Arab countries, and thirteen international observers from ten countries and representing thirteen institutions and organizations.
The Forum concluded with recommendations to Arab presidents, kings, and princes in a comprehensive document “The Second Independence,” adopted by the Forum; constituting an initiative for political reform in the Arab region.
Twelve basic principles were adopted during the Forum, which must be included in any genuine political reform initiative, among them the right of peoples to self-determination in order to achieve their political, economic, social and cultural development, and freely control their wealth and natural resources. Discussions also led to the importance of recognizing linguistic, cultural, ethnic and religious pluralism, respect for human rights, and support for minorities in facing their struggles and in gaining their rights under United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. Equal opportunities in political participation between women and men were also encouraged.
The Regional Forum of the Arab Human Rights Movement is an initiative first founded by CIHRS in 1999, aiming to create a platform for dialogue on the pressing issues of democratization, human rights, and the future of the human rights movement and the challenges of its work in the Arab region.
CIHRS 8th Regional Forum of the Arab Human Rights Movement publications:
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