Civil Society in the Middle East: The Promise and Perils of Advocacy for Human Rights and the Environment

Lisa Hajjar
UC Santa Barbara

Susan Slyomovics
UC Los Angeles

Scholars, practitioners, and advocacy groups understand that civil society groups are a critical factor in human rights promotion, monitoring, and efforts at political liberalization. Organizations based in the Middle East (for example, indigenous human rights and environmental advocacy groups) have developed strategies to engage in information-gathering, shedding light on disturbing patterns of violations that governments seek to shield from scrutiny. This conference brought together scholars focusing on civil society initiatives in the Middle East with UC colleagues, hosted by UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies, and drawing on resources at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside.