Human Rights in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States: Prospects for Positive Change

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The six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have received criticism for being slow to conform to global human rights norms. They have lagged in signing global treaties and covenants and have not enforced many of the laws they have on the books. However, for three key reasons, hope exists that continued engagement with these countries on human rights issues may lead to progress. First, despite a lack of progress in some areas, such as political and civil rights, the region has made great progress overall in just a few decades, especially regarding economic and social rights. Second, GCC countries have begun incorporating human rights language into domestic legislation and their own local discourse. Third, economic and social changes are on the horizon for the region in the medium to long term, which may lead to political changes in the next few decades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-146
Number of pages21
JournalContemporary Review of the Middle East
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Arab Spring
  • Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Kafala system
  • human rights
  • labor laws
  • reforms
  • women rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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