Human Rights in the Gulf Region and Neighbouring Countries: 2022 Annual Report of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights
The main objective of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is to foster a vibrant and safe civic space in which human rights defenders (HRDs) and other civil society actors are free to work for the protection and promotion of human rights. Throughout 2022, GCHR continued to support HRDs, independent lawyers, journalists, academics and online activists across the Gulf region and neighbouring countries through its core activities of documentation and research, monitoring and publicising cases of HRDs at risk, capacity building and protection and assistance.
Throughout 2022, GCHR, alongside its local partners and international allies, continued to play a vital role in ensuring that cases that might otherwise not receive the attention they deserve are brought to the fore in predominantly English-speaking media and advocacy circles. GCHR continued its work in coalition with partner organisations on campaigns for imprisoned HRDs including its co-founder Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja in Bahrain and Advisory Board member Ahmed Mansoor in the UAE.
In 2022, GCHR issued 100 appeals and 13 urgent actions as well as numerous joint statements and letters relating to WHRDs and HRDs in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UAE and Yemen, as well as Palestine and Egypt. GCHR also published nine reports, either alone or jointly with partners, covering a wide range of themes and countries such as patterns of torture, accountability and the application of Magnitsky sanctions, the specific challenges facing WHRDs and joint submissions to UN mechanisms. Furthermore, GCHR published five Periodic Reports on violations of freedom of expression and assembly in Iraq and three on Iraqi Kurdistan.
In December 2022, GCHR marked the conclusion of another busy and productive year by finally obtaining Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Consultative status after more than seven years of attempts that had been blocked by hostile states. On 07 December 2022, the UN ECOSOC Committee voted in favour of granting status to GCHR and another eight NGOs including the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR). The EU issued a statement in support of the nine NGOs.
This annual report, which covers the period between 01 January 2022 and 31 December 2022, summarises GCHR’s activities advocating on behalf of HRDs, activists, academics, journalists, protesters and citizens so that they can exercise their human rights peacefully and free from oppression. In addition to documenting our advocacy efforts and activities, the report also covers the ways in which we have helped to strengthen the capacity of HRDs and other civil society actors working to peacefully promote and protect human rights throughout the region and neighbouring countries.
At the outset, GCHR wishes to recognise and pay tribute to its local, regional and international partners with whom it has continued to enjoy fruitful relationships in our mutual work to amplify and support the work of HRDs and civil society actors across the Gulf region and neighbouring countries.
Part I of this report summarises GCHR’s thematic and country-specific campaigns, advocacy before international organisations such as the United Nations and legal advocacy. Part II highlights the various thematic and country reports published by GCHR over the past year. Part III summarises the practical support GCHR has provided to HRDs and civil society actors throughout 2022. Part IV provides “snapshots” of the human rights situation in each of the countries we work in across the Gulf region and the report concludes with a regional human rights overview at Part V and recommendations for the coming year at Part VI.
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