Middle East & North Africa

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Middle East & North Africa

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Erbil, Iraq, 16 January 2018. People gather near the United Nations (UN) office to demand that their relatives be found, relatives who disappeared during anti-Daesh operations, Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Enforced disappearances persist in MENA amidst unaddressed impunity

On the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, rights groups call on multilateral and international institutions to end impunity and ensure accountability for the continued trend of enforced disappearance in the region.

A US Representative leaves a message of support for an Iranian-American held in solitary in Iran, during a vigil across from the White House in Washington, DC., 19 May 2014, KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images

Leaked surveillance videos reveal pattern of abuse in Iran’s prisons

These leaked videos offer a glimpse of what happens behind bars in Iran, but they are likely the tip of the iceberg, says Human Rights Watch.

A photo illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel's NSO Group which features Pegasus spyware, on display in Paris, France, 21 July 2021, JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Bahrain: Surveillance of activists renews calls for action

A new report reveals nine Bahraini activists, including three members of IFEX member organisation the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, were hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.

Palestinian women work on their laptops at a start up in Gaza City, 18 April 2015, MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images

Palestine: The reality of digital privacy and data protection

A new study by the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement (7amleh) examines how Palestinian digital privacy rights are being violated, and highlights the growing need for a comprehensive data protection law.

Police close the streets leading to the prime minister's office during a protest, in Amman, Jordan, 29 July 2020, after the arrests by security forces of top members of the Jordan Teachers Syndicate. Jordan PIx/Getty Images

Jordan: Teacher activists face campaign of arrests and intimidation

Authorities continue to arrest and intimidate protesting teacher union activists one year after authorities suspended the country’s largest professional union.

A woman checks her smartphone on a street in Alexandria, Egypt, 22 November 2019, Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images

Egypt: Judicial authorities employ mass surveillance to censor citizens

How Egypt’s Public Prosecution expanded its powers in recent years to monitor internet users, and violate their right to privacy and freedom of expression.

Supporters of President Kais Saied set up the Tunisian flag on the roof of a store as riot police stand guard in front of the parliament building, in Tunis, 26 July 2021, after Saied decided to freeze parliament and sack Hichem Mechichi’s government. Chedly Ben Ibrahim/NurPhoto

Spyware, hunger strikes, and alleged coups: A summer of suppression in MENA

July 2021 in Middle East and North Africa: A free expression roundup produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Naseem Tarawnah, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

Tunisian journalists wear red ribbons around their arms to protest press freedom violations, in Tunis, 2 February 2018, Chedly Ben Ibrahim/NurPhoto

Tunisia: Rights groups call on President Kais Saied to respect free expression and the press

Reforming the democratic process will be doomed to failure if Tunisians are muzzled and journalists are denied the right to ethically and professionally do their job, say Tunisian rights groups.

‘The Smartphones are listening’: Regulating exports and abuses of cybertools

Reflecting on events from the first half of 2021, IFEX’s Middle East and North Africa Editor explains how increasingly sophisticated digital surveillance tools are being sold to and deployed by authoritarian states in the region to target human rights defenders, and how civil society is defending the right to privacy and digital free expression.

Iran's newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during his swearing in ceremony at the Parliament, in Tehran, 5 August 2021, ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

Iran: Parliament’s “Protection Bill” poised to hand over complete control of the Internet to authorities

“Using the term ‘Protection’ to name this legislation will not detract from the fact that Iran’s Parliamentarians are launching a full-on attack on people’s rights to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy.”

Human rights defender Gamal Eid (second from left) and other award winners and dignitaries at a ceremony for the 'Roland Berger Human Dignity Award', in Berlin, Germany, 22 November 2011, Stephan Schraps/Getty Images

IFEX calls on authorities in Egypt to drop their prosecution of prominent human rights defender Gamal Eid

“Gamal is one of the strongest independent voices still fighting for human rights in a country that has been dismantling civil society and closing the space for freedom of expression and information for far too long. The trumped-up charges against him should be dropped immediately, along with the travel ban and assets freeze.’

Jailed academic Dr. Abduljalil AlSingace, Credit: Haq Movement for Liberties & Democracy

Bahrain: Rights groups call on authorities to release jailed academic Dr. Abduljalil AlSingace

IFEX joins rights groups in calling for the immediate release of prominent human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil Alsingace who has been on hunger strike since 8 July 2021 to protest his mistreatment by prison authorities.

The Saudi Foreign Minister (C), wearing a mask due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exits Sudan's foreign ministry building after his meeting with the Sudanese Foreign Minister, in Khartoum, 8 December 2020, ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia: Sudanese media personality sentenced to four years for critical tweets

The sentence against Ahmad Ali Abdelkader, 31, is related to tweets and media interviews he shared to Twitter in which he discussed and expressed support for Sudan’s 2018-2019 revolution and criticized Saudi actions in Sudan and Yemen, says Human Rights Watch.

Renowned human rights defender Gamal Eid (2L) leaves a courtroom in Cairo, as an Egyptian court examines a request to issue a travel ban and freeze his assets and those of a fellow rights activist, 20 April 20, 2016, MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images

Egypt: Human rights defender Gamal Eid questioned in civil society case ten years later

Prominent human rights defender and director of The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) Gamal Eid was formally questioned in what the rights group calls a politically motivated case designed to punish independent organizations.

Rabat, Morocco, 28 December 2019. Demonstrators shout slogans in support of detained Moroccan journalist Omar Radi, who was reportedly targeted using NSO spyware. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Rights groups demand an end to the sale of surveillance technology to MENA’s autocratic governments

The MENA Surveillance Coalition calls for an immediate moratorium on the use, acquisition, sale and transfer of surveillance technology used to target human rights defenders in the region.

Al-Jazeera bureau chief Lotfi Hajji (C) and his team pose outside the headquarters of the national journalists' union (Syndicat National des Journalistes tunisiens, SNJT), in Tunis, 26 July 2021, after Tunisian police closed the broadcaster's offices. ANIS MILI/AFP via Getty Images

Tunisia: Security forces storm Al-Jazeera’s office in Tunis

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the raid and calls on authorities to unconditionally allow Al-Jazeera’s Tunis bureau to resume operations and let all journalists in the country work freely.