Egyptian rights group: Human rights deteriorating in Arab world

A leading Egyptian human rights group said Friday that human rights in the Arab world have deteriorated over the past year and the future looks bleak for reform. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, one of the oldest such groups in the Arab world, accused Arab governments in its first such annual report of attempting to silence rights organizations at home and abroad. The report, which was released Friday in conjunction with the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, chronicled the human rights records of 12 Arab countries. It said judicial systems in many Arab countries lack independence and power-sharing mechanisms are largely absent. The group singled out Egypt, accusing the country of using its influence in various international organizations, such as the United Nations, to thwart human rights reform. It also criticized the Arab League, an umbrella group of 22 Arab states, for supporting repressive regimes like the ones in Sudan and Yemen.