Arab rulers must get used to rights demands: Merkel

12th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Governments across the Arab world must now get used to demands for basic human rights to be respected in the wake of the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In her weekly podcast, released Saturday but recorded before Friday's ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Merkel said the protests in Arab capitals reminded her of those which "overthrow the dictatorships of eastern Europe".

Merkel, raised in the former East Germany, said that the protestors who took to the streets of Tunis and Cairo had echoed the demands of those who rose up against the former communist regimes that their human rights be respected.

The chancellor said that it was up to Arabs, rather than outsiders, to determine how they would ensure the respect for universal rights such as freedom of opinion and freedom of the press.

"But these freedoms are indivisible and the governments of the Middle East must get used to this," she added.

Speaking to reporters on Friday night, Merkel said Mubarak's departure marked an historic change for the region and wished the Egyptian people would now forge "a society without corruption, censorship, arrests and torture".

© 2011 AFP

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