For the past several months, tensions have been running high in Libya, once again at a political deadlock since the last planned elections scheduled for December 2021 were postponed, and the parliament in the east named in February Fathi Bashagha as the new premier while the internationally recognized Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeiba refused to step down insisting he would hand over power only to an elected government. With threatening rhetoric, signs of mobilization of forces, and divided loyalties among the armed groups in western Libya amid the power struggle between Dbeibah and Bashagha, reports of increasingly systematic attacks on civil society and freedom of expression have emerged.
Facebook’s and Instagram’s policies violated the fundamental human rights of Palestinians, according to a due diligence report commissioned by the platforms’ parent company, Meta, and published in September 2022. The long-awaited report, which came after much delay and anticipation from civil society, was conducted by the independent consulting company Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). It assessed the human rights impact of Meta’s policies and activities on Arabic and Hebrew content in May 2021 amid mass Palestinian uprising following the forced eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem and the brutal Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.
In these crucial and difficult times for the MENA region, it is high time for authorities and governing institutions to properly address climate change and to fully include the youth in all strategies to combat it. One way of doing so is through supporting skills development and empowerment through knowledge and active-learning. These will help elevate potentials to ensure comprehensive mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) centers localized perspectives in the policy discourse to foster transparent, accountable, and just societies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Local experts and advocates bring a unique and nuanced understanding of developments, challenges, and opportunities on the ground, yet their perspectives are often systematically cut off from the policymaking community due to issues of access, resource, and capacity.
TIMEP’s programming and advocacy work to ensure that these localized perspectives are heard, strengthened, and protected. Specifically, TIMEP is:
The line at the cashier check-out of a discount department store was long, with restless customers standing in line. A lady was holding up the queue: money in hand, she was trying to match the grocery bill. “This has to go, this, and this,” she told the cashier as her little boy stared in dismay at the items he had picked being tossed aside. “I want the pants,” he objected. “I don’t have enough,” she replied.
I witnessed the above incident while buying some bed sheets from the store. This is a recurring story around the world, as people are feeling the crunch of the current economic situation. The crisis hit particularly strongly Egypt’s poorer population, as human rights worker Gamal Eid described an encounter he witnessed between a lady and a ful and falafel street vendor. Ful, fava beans, is considered to be a low-cost staple ingredient in the diet of many Egyptians. The lady wanted to evenly split 6 Egyptian pounds ($0.32) between ful and falafel, but the vendor told her that 3 pounds could only buy her falafel, not ful. The argument that erupted between the two was ironically against the backdrop of a radio announcer praising “Egypt’s economic development.”
Egypt has always been a majority poor country. The above two stories are not unreal even in bygone eras. However, from financial data and anecdotal evidence, such stories of Egyptians trying to make ends meet are on the rise as more and more descend the socioeconomic ladder and join the poorer class. The Egyptian government reported a small decline in poverty rates from 32.5 percent in the fiscal year 2017-2018 to 29.7 percent in 2019-2020. The Egyptian government might frame this as a miniature improvement but there are a lot of nuances involved in these figures. First, almost a third of the population lives under the state-constructed poverty line, far below the international line of $2 per day. Second, observers have debated and criticized the official numbers citing that they do not really reflect the reality in Egypt. Third, the World Bank estimated in 2019 that 60 percent of Egyptians are either very poor or vulnerable. Lastly, the official poverty rate in 2015 was 27.8 percent, it jumped to 32.5% after the sharp currency devaluation in late 2016, therefore we can confidently deduce that latest poverty rate which was measured last year has increased following the second devaluation of the Egyptian pound that occurred last March. (more…)