January 9th, 2012
05:55 AM ET

Amnesty: Middle East protesters not looking for 'cosmetic changes'

Unless governments in the Middle East stop offering "cosmetic changes" to calls for reform, they should brace themselves for another year of protests, Amnesty International warned Monday.

The protests and bloodshed will continue unless governments and the international community ensure the demonstrators' demands are addressed, the rights group said in a new report.

Protesters are not interested in "piecemeal" reforms, it said.

"With few exceptions, governments have failed to recognize that everything has changed," said Philip Luther, director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa.

"The protest movements across the region, led in many cases by young people and with women playing central roles, have proved astonishingly resilient in the face of sometimes staggering repression."

Protesters want accountability and change in governance, according to Luther.

The 80-page report is called "Year of Rebellion: State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa."

It highlights the success of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in removing their longtime regimes, but underscores the need to institute democracy to ensure past actions are not repeated.

"The uprising in Tunisia brought significant improvements in human rights, but one year on, many consider that the pace of change has been too slow, with families of the victims of the uprising still awaiting justice," Amnesty said.

In Egypt, for example, military rulers are yet to deliver on demands of the revolution and are in some cases behind attacks that are "worse than under Hosni Mubarak" regime, the report said.

Amnesty warned that some governments "remained grimly determined to cling onto power" at all costs, citing an example of Syria.

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Filed under: Middle East • World
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    Sound familiar?

    January 9, 2012 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. kyle788

    Scottish Mama I didn't even read but the first few lines when I scrolled down to make the same comment.

    January 9, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scottish Mama

    @ Kyle788 Great minds think alike?

    January 9, 2012 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Portland tony

    Revolutions don't necessarily lead to democratic Gardens of Eden. What did you expect? People subjected to generations of dictatorship to automatically espouse western democracy? Democracy is learned. To allow 50.1 % of the populace to make the laws which everyone must follow in a democracy is a little foreign to Everyman 's thinking.

    January 9, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Change will happen eventually; it takes time.
      There are so many different factions all working against each other: everyone thinks they know what is best...but is the solution more bloodshed?

      January 9, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Portland tony


    January 9, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    Bravo @ Portland Tony and banasy!!! Any lasting changes governmentally in foreign countries MUST be made by the ppl OF those countries!! The US cannot and SHOULD NOT get involved! We would only be met with resistance and its not good for our own country!

    January 9, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mathias

    I feel that these people have a right to protest in the middle-East after years of abusive government control. It is nice to see these people stand up for them-selves and speak out.

    January 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. symptoms of mono

    People are the power and their desire changes the environment of Government policies and ideas.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |