Human rights deteriorated across the Arab world in 2009 with torture widely practised in several countries, namely Egypt, an Arab watchdog said in a report released on Tuesday.
The report by the independent Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies surveyed 12 countries and said that most of them repressed human rights activists, press freedoms and discriminated against religious minorities.
The state of human rights in the 12 countries -- Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen -- "has worsened compared to 2008," the report said.
"Arab governments remained wedded to a broad array of repressive laws that undermine basic liberties," compared to the previous year, said the report, "Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform."
"Peaceful rotation of power through representative politics, and clean and competitive elections remained a dream in most countries covered by this report," it said.
Egypt and Syria were singled out as leading offenders, with Cairo said to lead the region in practicing torture and Damascus for repressing rights activists. MORE HERE