World Report 2012

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This 22nd annual World Report summarizes human rights conditions in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide in 2011. It reflects extensive investigative work that Human Rights Watch staff has undertaken during the year, often in close partnership with domestic human rights activists.

The introductory essay examines the Arab Spring, which has created an extraordinary opportunity for change. The global community has a responsibility to help the longsuppressed people of the region seize control of their destiny from often-brutal authoritarian rulers. Standing firmly with people as they demand their legitimate rights is the best way to stop the bloodshed, while principled insistence on respect for rights is the best way to help these popular movements avoid intolerance, lawlessness, and summary revenge once in power.

  Voices from Tahrir

Browse Chapters by Country

Thematic Essays


On December 17, 2010, a 26-year-old Tunisian man set himself on fire after abusive police confiscated his unlicensed vegetable cart, his only source of income. This desperate act of protest inspired a movement that swept the country and ignited calls for reform throughout the region. Thousands of Tunisians took to the streets to denounce their tyrannical government and, within weeks, successfully ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from power. On January 25, 2011, Egyptians came together by the thousands to launch a massive pro-democratic movement that would, in 18 days, end President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign. Emboldened antigovernment protests quickly erupted in Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Oman and Libya as well.
  Thematic Essays          
Before the Arab Spring, the Unseen Thaw
spacer Time to Abandon the Autocrats and Embrace Rights
The International Response to the Arab Spring
spacer Hopes and Lessons 20 Years after the Collapse of the Soviet Union

  Eric Goldstein
By Eric Goldstein
  Ken Roth
By Kenneth Roth
  Rachel Denber
By Rachel Denber
  Europe’s Own Human Rights Crisis
  A Landmark Victory for Domestic Workers

  From Paternalsim to Dignity

  Ben Ward
By Benjamin Ward
  Nisha Varia
By Nisha Varia and Jo Becker

  Shantha Rau Barriga
Shantha Rau Barriga


spacer Africa Americas Asia
  Europe And Central Asia Middle East And North Africa US Program