Human Rights In Egypt: An Unbreakable Will
On the 20th of March 2016, Nazra for Feminist Studies issued a statement confirming that they are under investigation in Case 173, which is known by the name of “cases of foreign funding for civil organization in Egypt”. Three staff members were called for investigation on March 16, 2016. The investigation session was then postponed to Tuesday March 22, 2016. The reasons of the investigation were not provided by the Egyptian authorities.
Case 173 against civil society in Egypt doesn’t come as a surprise, it was actually an expected move by the Egyptian authorities, where a campaign not so long ago was launched targeting human rights defenders, where many of them are banned from traveling, and facing smearing campaigns through official media stations. Last month, El Nadeem Center for the rehabilitation for the victims of torture had faced an attempted shut down, and some human rights defenders have reported that the government have frozen their assets.
As a WHRD regional coalition we condemn the current policies of the Egyptian authorities, and we warn that it only promises of more oppression and human rights violations in Egypt. All the attempts of the Egyptian authorities to shut down the public space, and to silence those asking for more freedom, social justice and human dignity will not change the grim reality that proves that the administration have failed to respond to the January 25 Revolution. We say this, knowing that young men and women involved in the revolution are now in jail, and civil organizations are being harassed and shutdown as reaction from state to not be accountable and to not introduce more reforms.
The WHRD coalition was founded based on an initiative from Nazra in 2013, and where they’ve hosted more than 40 WHRD and supported us in our process to create this coalition. Nazra is an integral part of the coalition, and have supported through it tens of WHRDs in need of solidarity and protection, and where its executive director Mozn Hassan occupies the position of an advisor to the coalition.
Nazra has played an important role in shaping a feminist discourse that has succeeded in placing women’s rights on national and regional agendas. They have facilitated the process of sharing experiences and lessons learned on the issue of women’s participation in public spaces. They’ve marked our coalition with empowering values and practices, most important of them, to not compromise on women’s bodies and participation in the public space under any circumstance.
Case 173 places Nazra along with other civil society organization under investigation, yet due to the recent procedures by the Egyptian authorities this can’t be considered as routine procedure, because it’s happening under circumstance where civil society is under scrutiny and smearing campaigns. Also it comes after a series of procedures against human rights defenders, and that doesn’t indicate good intention or will on the part of the Egyptian authorities to protect or respect their.
We are calling on the Egyptian authorities to dismiss the case and stop harassing and intimidating human rights defenders. We are inviting the Egyptian authorities instead to pursue radical reforms to protect human rights defenders. We are also calling for an organized MENA region response to the situation in Egypt and to form a task force on Egypt to provide advocacy and campaigning so that human rights defenders are protected.
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