Middle East & North Africa Background

At a time of optimism but also flux and uncertainty in the Middle East and North Africa, nations across the region are witnessing forceful calls from their populaces for meaningful and transparent democratic change. Some are faced with the challenge of building new democratic institutions while others aim to reform existing ones to respond to popular demands for increased openness and equality. In either case, advancement of the rule of law is foundation to successful endeavors.

Throughout the region, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) works to foster rule of law by assisting local partners with judicial development, upgrading legal education, strengthening the legal profession, fighting corruption, advancing the rights and professional participation of women, enhancing access to justice and building a rule of law culture. ABA ROLI’s initiatives—both regional and bilateral—endeavor to strengthen the standing of individual countries and the region as a whole vis-à-vis international standards and best practices.

We work with local partners to address the specific rule of law issues related to the Middle East and North Africa’s rapidly shifting sociopolitical realities. In the wake of the January 2011 revolution in Tunisia, we support the Tunisian Bar Association in its leadership role in the country’s October constituent assembly elections. In Morocco, ABA ROLI works with the Moroccan anti-corruption agency, la Instance Centrale de Prévention de la Corruption (ICPC), on programs addressing corruption in Moroccan society.

Additionally, our work has included regional programs for legal professionals in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. ABA ROLI maintains offices and bilateral programs in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Tunisia and Turkey.

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