The regional context in the GCC is volatile. Besides the regional tensions, economic and educational development leads to sharply increasing exposure to international norms, including those relevant for good governance, the rule of law, human rights such as independence of the judiciary, equal access to justice of people regardless of gender or ethnicity and the possibility to frankly discuss and agree on political options and choices for the region.
The Gulf Foundation network believes that peaceful and respectful contacts within the region and from outside the region will lessen the tensions in the Gulf communities and positively influence the relations between the countries themselves at their regional level but also at the international level.
In contrast to the potential of the region, the security situation in the Arab-Persian Gulf involving the three main actors Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia is deteriorating noticeably and becomes increasingly complicated and complex with the Syrian tragedy increasing sectarian strife, extremism , the involvement of non state actors and their impact on the political, cultural and social context.
The Gulf region is witnessing changes in its closed environment where local groups and citizens become more critical towards the tensions and changes affecting their daily lives. Civil society actors are becoming more persistent in calls for improvements in human rights, democracy, good governance, the rule of law, peace and security. At the same time they are expressing more and more their need to interact with governmental actors in a constructive way enabling the needed positive social change to take place and be rooted in the culture of the region.
It is not just the 'human rights NGOs' but also the academic world as well as professional bodies, the media, women's organisations and similar bodies that all have their role to play in this process with particular attention for independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression, women's rights and freedom of religion, aiming towards gradually aligning legislation and governmental policies with international standards. Focus will be given to the advancement human rights standards and education in the region, fostering the support and the collaboration with regional institutes, structures and human rights bodies.