SOLIDAR : no significant improvements on social rights in the MENA region since 2013

December 20th 2018

The Social Rights Monitor (SRM) is a tool developed by SOLIDAR members and partners to allow partner organizations and allies based in the country to assess the situations in terms of social protection, decent work and an enabling environment and track the progress made since the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the partnership priorities established with the EU.

From SRM Scoreboard regarding the Middle East and Maghreb region (MENA) (1), SOLIDAR observed that no substantive changes or significant improvements have occurred in the areas of freedom of association, decent work and social protection since 2013. Although some progresses have been observed in some cases, the situation has worsened in others. Eight years after the Arab Spring, there is yet a lack of political will or governmental effort to place social justice at the centre. Moreover, with the economic and the refugee crisis on the European side and the widespread inequalities and conflicts in the Arab region, EU external policies have placed an increasing focus on securitization, countering terrorism, deeper trade agreements and an enhanced role for the private sector in development. As a result, development policy has deviated from its main long-term objective, namely eradicating poverty and reducing inequality.

For SOLIDAR, it is therefore essential that the European Neighbourhood policy focuses on the improvement and strengthening of economic, social and cultural rights, as they are the precondition to social justice and the realization of civic and political rights. Social and economic development, accompanied by an equal distribution of knowledge, income and power, are essential to build a just and equal society and assure an inclusive democratic transition. It is also the only way towards the achievement of sustainable development and the specific objectives of the Agenda 2030 (No Poverty, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities).

The SOLIDAR SRM also developed country profiles, putting in evidence the evolution of Social Protection, Decent Work and Freedom of Association in each country surveyed (1).