The 2011 uprisings in the Middle East heralded a new era in the Arab world. Never before had the indivisibility and interdependence of civil and political rights with economic and social rights been more apparent. The Syrian government employed a climate of securitization and secrecy in order to undermine the pro-democratic calls, however, and a lack of accountability further restricted the procedural rights needed in order to fully gain political, economic, social and cultural rights.
The international community’s calls for greater political transformation and civil liberties were only met by escalating repression, intolerance of dissent, state brutality and arbitrary arrests. The root of the unrest was largely due to longstanding, unmet demands for greater social justice and improvements in standards of living, but the Syrian leadership failed to heed the political and economic aspirations of its people. This injustice was particularly felt by vulnerable and marginalized groups such as women, refugees and ethnic minorities who continue to face formal and societal discrimination in all spheres of life.
In October 2011, the Syrian Arab Republic presented for the first time before the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council. CESR is working to try and bring the rights of Syrians to the forefront of the government’s attention during these times of unrest and transition.