This pamphlet includes the recommendations of the First Civil Forum parallel to the Arab Summit and the relevant press releases.
The Forum sent its recommendations in a brief message to the Arab Kings, Presidents and Emirs. The message was formulated based on a detailed comprehensive document adopted by the Forum. It is a comprehensive framework for the initiative of political reform in the Arab world.
The document is entitled “Second Independence” i.e. complementing the acquisition of the right to self-determination of the peoples within a framework of democratic rule respecting human rights. It is noteworthy that the “second independence” is an expression used by some African movements calling for democracy in the late1980s and the early 1990s. Afterwards, it was used by a Tunisian thinker as a title for one of his books on the significance of democracy in the Arab world.
The document illustrates the stance of the Forum towards the so-called international initiatives for reform and the stance of the Arab governments towards such initiatives. Moreover, it identifies the general principles of the framework of reform in the Arab region. The document displays the major demands and tackle in detail particular issues such as: the rights of
the minorities and nationalities, religious discourse, the rights of women, migrant workers and refugees. Furthermore, it addresses the priorities in countries in transition particularly: the Sudan, Iraq and Palestine.
The document dedicates a separate section on reforming the League of Arab States, from the civil society perspective. It illustrates the stance of the human rights institutions regarding the draft of the Arab Charter on Human Rights. It concludes by identifying the new responsibilities to be assumed by the human rights institutions in the process of political reform in the Arab
The First Civil Forum was organized by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) in Beirut, in cooperation with the Association for Defending Rights and Freedoms (ADL) and the Palestinian Human Rights Organization (Rights) and in coordination with the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Netwrok (EMHRN) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). The event was funded by the European Commission. It was attended by 87 persons; 74 participants representing 52 NGOs from 13 Arab states, in addition to academic and political figures and 13 observers from 13 institutions from 10 states.