Creating new perspectives since 2009

Amnesty urges MENA gov’ts to develop universal social protection

June 16, 2024 at 10:46 am

The logo of Human Rights NGO Amnesty International is pictured in Paris on May 28, 2024 [STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images]

Governments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) should develop, expand, and fund universal social protection systems that guarantee the right to social security for all, Amnesty International (AI) stated on Friday. The human rights organisation has signed the joint Declaration on Building Universal Social Protection in the Arab Region, organised by the civil society-led Arab Region Hub for Social Protection.

The declaration aims to garner support for establishing and developing universal social protection systems across MENA. Kristine Beckerle, AI’s Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Advisor for MENA, highlighted the dire need: “People in MENA are losing lives, loved ones, and livelihoods while being battered by crisis after crisis.”

“Yet, across the region, social protection systems have proved to be inadequate and insufficient, leaving large parts of the population to fend for themselves, with minimal or no government support,” she said.


Beckerle further added, “MENA governments, with the support of donors and international financial institutions, where necessary, must work urgently to develop, expand, and fund universal social protection systems capable of ensuring that all people can live in dignity, regardless of their socio-economic status.”

The call to action is backed by the recognition of social security as a human right under international treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

With millions across MENA unable to access basic socio-economic rights, the declaration seeks to address systemic gaps. Effective social protection systems can provide critical support during crises, ensuring children can continue their education, improving healthcare access, reducing poverty, and promoting economic stability, the report notes.

READ: Amnesty International calls on EU leaders to protect Syria refugees in Lebanon