Calling for such reforms as regular parliamentary elections, Monday's declaration was signed by rights and law associations based in Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Among more specific demands included were the formation of political parties, the participation of women, and the "holding of free and fair parliamentary elections" in a way that would ensure "political pluralism and the rotation of power".

In addition, the groups demanded "the protection of human rights activists and the release of all prisoners of conscience" jailed in Gulf Arab states.