Arab Spring, 8 Years Later: Daily Brief

News from Tunisia, Lebanon & Egypt, eight years after Arab Spring; Saudi Arabia should let outside monitors see detainees; awful and very welcome LGBT news from Brazil & Angola; human rights abuses Kyrgyzstan should sound alarm bells over closer ties with EU; challenge from radical-right populists in Sweden; and very welcome support for HRW from The Netherlands.

Eight years after the Arab Spring, that resulted in toppled dictators in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the struggle for freedom and democracy in the Middle East & North Africa is still very much a work in progress.  

Saudi Arabia is another country in the region with an awful human rights track record. Today Human Rights Watch said that the Saudi authorities should immediately allow independent international monitors to enter the Kingdom and meet with detainees, including those who have alleged torture. The detainees should include the prominent princes and business leaders held as part of a so-called corruption probe, and the prominent women’s rights advocates detained since May 2018.

But there's also some positive news from the region today, about Lebanon's garbage crisis.

Brazil´s Congress has lost an important voice for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people at a time when it is most needed: Jean Wyllys, an openly gay member of Congress, has announced he will give up his seat over fears for his life.

The awful news broke as Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro, who has endorsed torture and made openly racist, homophobic and misogynist statements, is at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, for talks and photo-ops with leaders from other countries. 

Human rights abuses in Kyrgyzstan should sound alarm bells over closer ties with the European Union, says HRW's Senior Europe and Central Asia researcher Mihra Rittmann in an article published by Euronews.

Four months after elections were held in Sweden, the country finally has a new government. But does this resolve the challenge from radical-right populists? Read this EUobserver comment by Kartik Raj, HRW's Western Europe researcher.

And there is very welcome news from The Netherlands.