Our work in the Middle East and North Africa
RWI started its cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the 1990s through initial collaboration in Tunisia and Palestine. Support through Swedish development cooperation further expanded our work in the MENA region from 2003. Since then, an extensive number of regional training programmes and other regional initiatives on various human rights issues, including on gender equality and good governance have been carried out. These programmes have also been implemented with local partners in e.g., Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon.
The most recent MENA programme (2018-2021) aimed at further increasing the application of international human rights standards in national judicial systems in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. By strengthening the capacities of judicial training institutes in the MENA region to actively integrate international human rights standards in their curricula and improve their teaching methodology, more judges currently have the knowledge and tools to increasingly support the use of human rights standards by courts in the region. This programme was implemented within the framework of the International Legal Assistance Consortium’s (ILAC) MENA programme, financially supported by Swedish Development Cooperation. Under ILAC´s Syria Programme 2017-2018, RWI also piloted a programme on higher legal education and skills training of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.
Key results in MENA
- International human rights standards are increasingly being applied in new court decisions as a result of strengthened knowledge among recently graduated judges on the integration of international human rights standards in national systems. RWI’s support can be attributed to this result in at least Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.
- New reference material with jurisprudence from Arab courts and analysis of how international human rights standards can be applied in court proceedings and judicial rulings. In total seven national studies and three regional jurisprudence books as well as one manual on the integration of human rights in the teaching at Judicial Training Institutes have been published.
- The three regional publications: Arab Jurisprudence in the Application of International Conventions on the Rights of Women (2016) by Samia Bourouba, Arab Jurisprudence in the Application of International Human Rights Conventions (2016) by Ahmad Al Ashqar and Jurisprudence in the application of human rights in Arab courts (2012) by Samia Bourouba have been widely used in the region and beyond. Examples of where they have been used as a reference in academic research and reports: Oxford University Press, ESCWA, Gallen University, Open Society Foundations.
- Over 100 key stakeholders from academic institutions, National Human Rights Institutions, government representatives and civil society organisations mainly from Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Syria gained increased capacities on the implementation of human rights in relation to their respective roles and functions at their institutions.
For more information on our activities in MENA, please contact:
Jason Naum is an international development and nonprofit organization management expert with over 20 years of experience successfully leading and strengthening the capacity of nonprofits, academic institutions, and independent state actors with a human rights mandate around the world. He has extensive experience in strategic planning, thought leadership, global philanthropy, human rights programming, capacity building, grant management and evaluation strategies for mission driven nonprofits.
Prior to RWI, Jason was the Managing Director of the Botstiber Institute, the Founding Chairman and Executive Director of LAB (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on increasing opportunities for Philadelphia’s economically disadvantaged youth), as well as the Head of the National Human Rights Institutions Unit at RWI. He holds a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Lund University with a specialization in international human rights and humanitarian law.