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Human Rights Watch urges West to accept rising Islamist political power in Arab nations

Washington, Mon, 23 Jan 2012 ANI

Washington, Jan 23 (ANI): A human rights organisation has urged the Western governments to accept that Islamist parties are a rising political power in Arab nations following a wave of popular uprisings in the last year.


Human Rights Watch's Executive Director Kenneth Roth said in the organization's annual report that the West should abandon traditional repressive regimes and begin working with new Islamist politicians on democratic reforms.


"The international community must ... come to terms with political Islam when it represents a majority preference. Islamic parties are genuinely popular in much of the Arab world, in part because many Arabs have come to see political Islam as the antithesis of autocratic rule," the report said.


"Wherever Islam-inspired governments emerge, the international community should focus on encouraging, and if needed be pressuring, them to respect basic rights, just as the Christian-labeled parties and governments of Europe are expected to do," it added.


The report also said new Islamist governments should "abide by international human rights obligations, particularly with respect to women's rights and religious freedoms," The Los Angeles Times reports.


Roth said many Western nations, have been, practicing what he called an 'Arab exception' that included fear of political Islam and terrorism, the need to keep oil supplies flowing and a longstanding policy of relying on autocracies to maintain Arab-Israeli peace.


"It is time to end the 'Arab exception' and recognize that the people of the region deserve respect for their rights and freedoms as much as anyone else," he added. (ANI)


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