We investigate human rights abuses in a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa, currently focused on detentions and fair trial issues in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, and on uncovering the bureaucrats and security forces who serve as the agents of repression. DAWN also analyzes the policies of the United States, other foreign governments, and international businesses to examine the extent to which they hinder or support democracy and human rights in the region. Our thorough and unbiased investigations are a vital source for our advocacy work.

 We document information, data, first-hand testimonies, and witness accounts regarding human rights abuses. We use thorough fact-checking methodologies to build a reliable and trustworthy source for journalists, activists, policymakers, and advocates throughout the world. We aim to provide comprehensive documentation on particular cases of detention and trials in certain countries, and to unmask the identities of those behind the repression, to serve as a vital resource to the international community. Our documentation appears in our news stories, press releases, briefings, interviews, weekly updates, and social media accounts, among others.


We bring to light anti-democratic practices and human rights violations, analyze current social, political and cultural developments, and work to promote a new vision for the future of the Middle East and North Africa through our online publishing platform, "Democracy in Exile", featuring experts on, and exiles from, the region.

We seek to inform public opinion on matters related to democracy and human rights that otherwise would have been missed, forgotten, or overlooked.


We advocate for human rights reforms and democratization and an end to support for abusive governments in the Middle East and North Africa by advocating and seeking to influence and change minds and policies.

Governments, international institutions, businesses, and the media are the primary focus of our advocacy.


We magnify the voices of the Arab diaspora, particularly the political exiles from the region, whose works are impactful in creating conversations, generating political and societal pressure for change, raising public awareness, and improving conditions in the region.

We help create a network for Arab voices supporting democracy and human rights and connect them to the broader discussions about the region.


The process of democratization, enhancing the rule of law, and building respect for human rights are fundamental aspirations of peoples around the world, including the Middle East and North Africa.

Unrepresentative, abusive governments buttressed by international actors are not a law of nature and can and must be challenged. Despite the enormous challenges, we believe that change — however incremental — is possible through sustained advocacy and pressure.

We continuously monitor and evaluate our programs to make sure our approach towards change is clear and effective. We believe in partnerships to strengthen our actions and enhance common understanding of the issues in which we are involved.

"Is there no other way for us? Must we choose between movie theaters and our rights as citizens to speak out, whether in support of or critical of our government's actions? Do we only voice glowing references to our leader's decisions, his vision of our future, in exchange for the right to live and travel freely — for ourselves and our wives, husbands and children too? …"

- Jamal KhashogGI, Washington Post, May 21, 2018