Mowatin’s geographical focus is the 6 countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates) of the Gulf Co‑operation Council (GCC) and other countries of the region with direct impacts on them (Iran, Iraq and Yemen). The citizens of the 6 countries of the GCC are lacking the basic rights and legal resources to change their governments. They are still forbidden from forming any political parties. Where limited elections (professional goups, municipal representations) taken place independent sources did not consider the elections free and fair. Trade unionism and civil societies are out rightly banned or comprehensively controlled in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Oman. In Bahrain and Kuwait trade union rights and civic groups are constrained by many hurdles.
There is increasing violence, bloodshed and humanitarian crises in the Middle East, casting more doubts over the long term stability and democratic development in Arabia. It is clear that the whole region could easily move to full‑scale war and escalation of terrorist operations. According to the international and regional human rights (Inter‑Governmental, Governmental and non‑governmental) the GCC countries continued to witness during 2014 the most persistent restrictions on universal rights such as freedom of expression, including on the Internet, press and freedom of assembly, association, movement, and religion; and a non‑existence of equal rights for women. Children, stateless Arabs (called “Bidoon”), and expatriate workers equal rights are non‑existent. These groups are continually facing social and legal discrimination.
Arbitrary deprivation of life; enforced travel bans on political activists, arrest of protesters on vague charges, torture, overcrowding in prisons and detention centres; holding hundreds of political prisoners and detainees; incommunicado detentions, and lengthy pre‑trial detentions; arbitrary arrest; and arbitrary interference with privacy, home, and correspondence are the common feature of the human rights situation.
Violence against women, political and economic exclusion based on cultural norms, trafficking in persons (primarily in the labour and domestic worker sectors), and discrimination based on gender, religion, sect (especially against the Shia), race, and ethnicity were common. Members of the security forces and other senior civil officials, including those linked to the ruling families, reportedly committed serious abuses with impunity. Indeed, lack of governmental transparency and access made it even more difficult to monitor the scale of many gross human rights' abuses. That is the overall context the Mowatin centre and its network has been operating for the last 13 years.
On October 2002, a few activists from the Gulf States met in Bahrain and initiated the Mowatin centre. 14 years later, our modest contribution is playing a significant role to help guide many interested stakeholders on many decisions on the region. Our Centre is founded on the guidance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We promote universal rights including the right of citizens to exercise their fundamental rights to seek to reform or change their rulers, hold their regimes accountable and establish tools of justice. Mowatin's vision is a world where democratic values are the norm and systematic abuses of group rights have no place and where their lasting benefits are recognised and the consequences of abuse are redressed.