Members of 50 civil society organizations from across the Arab world gathered in Beirut for a March 19-22 conference on reform and human rights. The gathering, organized by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and Lebanon's Association for the Defense of Rights and Liberties, issued a final declaration in the form of a letter to Arab rulers. The letter asserts the right of Arab citizens to live under representative government and to enjoy constitutional guarantees of freedom of thought, belief, and association, political pluralism, and minority rights. It calls for term limits for executive office and for the full equality of men and women. The letter also demands an end to extra-judicial procedures, emergency laws, and torture.
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