Hear their Voices: Alarming Times for Human Rights Defenders in the Gulf Region & Neighbouring Countries / GCHR 2014 Annual Report




This is the third annual report of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), which was founded in 2011 by human rights defenders from the region. The GCHR documents the human rights environment for human rights defenders working in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), as well as Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Syria. Syria, while not typically considered a Gulf country, is included because the GCHR believes it is essential to document the ongoing large-scale human rights atrocities taking place in a country neighbouring the Gulf region and because the conflict there has significant regional implications. This report highlights the work of the GCHR throughout 2014 and the main issues which human rights defenders face as they carry out their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

In 2014, the situation for human rights defenders in the Gulf region and its neighbouring countries continued to deteriorate. Human rights defenders are targeted, harassed, arrested, detained, imprisoned and ill-treated as a direct result of their human rights work. Many human rights defenders remain in detention where they are subjected to torture and appalling conditions. Rather than supporting human rights defenders and promoting universal human rights, governments in the region are using new anti-terror laws or cyber-crime laws, as well as increased cooperation among Gulf States, to restrict the work of human rights defenders.

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