Since the beginning of the last decade, human rights violations have been escalating in the Middle East and North Africa. People have taken to the streets to protest against the dire political and economic conditions, and armed conflicts have ravaged some countries. Governments in the region have used violent tactics to subdue and silence dissenting voices and have systematically targeted political activists and journalists.

In June 2022, repressive regimes continued to target peaceful activists and journalists, suppress popular protests, and restrict public freedoms. In Eastern Europe, the Russian-Ukrainian military conflict claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and caused the displacement of millions of Ukrainians to neighbouring countries. The crisis exposed the discriminatory double standards of European politicians, officials, journalists, and celebrities, who called for embracing Ukrainian refugees because they share their ethnicity, colour, and religion, unlike asylum seekers and migrants from regions outside Europe.

Last month, our team worked alongside partner organisations and dozens of regional and international organisations to generate real change by speaking to decision-makers about practises and methodologies that must be addressed, reformed, or abolished. We also harnessed the power of social media to virtually engage the public regarding issues that affect their rights, as well as human dignity as a whole.

  • Europe

In early July, the High Court of Justice of Andalusia confirmed the decision of the Ceuta Court, which ruled that the deportation of minor migrants who entered Spain in May 2021 to Morocco was illegal and constituted a violation of their rights.

For years, Euro-Med Monitor, along with human rights organizations, have addressed countries of destination, urging them not to forcibly return migrants and asylum seekers to the areas from which they came and respect their human rights and dignity.

[Webinar: Euro-Med Monitor hosts expert talk on outsourcing refugees to Rwanda]

  • Syria

On 11 July, member states of the Security Council agreed to extend the mechanism for the entry of UN aid across the border into northern Syria for another six months. The decision does not meet the aspirations of humanitarian organizations, as it only covers six months. However, it is crucial for the continued flow of aid to the millions of displaced Syrians who live in harsh conditions in northern Syria.

[Syria: Cross-border aid mechanism extension is necessary for the survival of millions]

  • Saudi Arabia

In July, Saudi authorities released the writer Nazir Al-Majed after he was detained for nearly five years on charges related to his exercise of the rights to criticism and expression.

The authorities also released Aisha Al-Balushi–the sister of the activist Fatima Al-Balushi–after being arbitrarily detained for about six years; Musa Jaafar Al-Sheikh Ahmed was released after being arbitrarily detained for nine years.

For years, Euro-Med Monitor, in cooperation with its partners, has implored Saudi authorities to release prisoners of conscience and launched a series of pressure campaigns to persuade them to stop the policy of arbitrary arrests and respect their citizens’ right to express their opinions freely.

[Arbitrary imprisonment sentence against Saudi academic over expressing opinions]