How things are getting worse:
[From RIGHTS-MIDEAST: Govts Ever More Draconian, Group Says]
NEW YORK, Mar 27 (IPS) - One of the Arab world's most widely respected non-governmental organisations is charging that at least 14 Middle East and North African governments are systematically violating the civil liberties of their citizens -- and most of them are close U.S. allies in the war on terror.
In a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) said that there have been "huge harassments of human rights organisations and defenders have been increasingly subject to abusive and suppressive actions by government actors... in the majority of Arab countries, particularly Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia."
The group this week called upon the international community to "exert effective efforts to urge Arab governments to duly reconsider their legislation, policy and practices contravening their international obligations to protect freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom to form associations, including non-governmental organisations."
It added that "Special attention should be awarded to providing protection to human rights defenders in the Arab World."