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Sunday, 21 April 2013

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US fears promise of Arab Spring may be lost

20 April AFP

Global hopes that democracy could replace dictatorships in Arab Spring nations risk being crushed by repressive regimes, the United States warned in its annual human rights report.

Two years after the first uprisings against iron-fisted rulers in the Middle East and North Africa, the countries that gave rise to the Arab Spring are encountering "harsh realities" and face "immense challenges," the State Department said in its assessment of the global rights situation in 2012.

"The hope of the early days of the Arab Awakening has run up against the harsh realities of incomplete and contested transitions," the report said.

And despite some "encouraging democratic breakthroughs," old divisions held in check for decades are resurfacing and clashing with young people "impatient for reform and results." Arab Spring nations in "2012 witnessed a bumpy transition from protest to politics, brutal repression by regimes determined to crush popular will, and the inevitable challenges of turning democratic aspirations into reality." While there was praise for countries such as Tunisia and Libya, where the new leaders include long-time human rights advocates, there is growing concern in other states about moves to stifle civil society.

 

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