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The Arab world is undergoing tremendous change. From the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011 to the war and refugee crisis in Syria and the fight against fundamentalists in Iraq, the region is overburdened with change. The strengths and weaknesses of digital rights, as well as the mere ability to use the internet securely, are not immune to these geopolitical shifts.

Parallel to these shifts is the increasingly pervasive role of internet services in dictating the way people live. Taking these two realities into consideration, the role of civil society organisations in advocating for human rights online is crucial. Because this report aims to closely evaluate the way Arab civil society is managing to do this, the analysis it provides could not be timelier.

This report explores how local groups in the Maghreb and Machrek regions are engaged in internet-related rights advocacy at the national and regional levels, and how that reflects upon the inclusion of these issues in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

The case studies featured in this report reflect the diversity of efforts across the Arab world in securing human rights in a digital environment. They are part of APC’s project Building a culture of online human rights and digital security in the Maghreb-Machrek region, funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).