Egypt: Human rights organizations welcome joint international declaration calling for an end to human rights violations and the suppression of civil society

In Arab Countries, International Advocacy Program by CIHRS

The undersigned human rights organizations welcome the joint declaration on human rights violations in Egypt, signed by 31 countries at the United Nations and delivered by Finland on 12 March during the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The joint declaration condemned Egypt’s deteriorating human rights situation, including the government’s relentless assault on human rights organizations and defenders in the country. The declaration highlighted restrictions to free expression and peaceful assembly, and the repression of civil society and political opposition. It also expressed deep concern regarding the Egyptian government’s use of counter-terrorism legislation as retribution against peaceful political opponents, as well as government’s practice of  “recycling cases” to ensure political opponents or dissenters remain behind bars for prolonged periods without trial.

This international condemnation of Egypt is the second of its kind from the United Nations, preceded by a similar international declaration issued in March 2014 and signed by 26 countries, denouncing the dispersal of the Raba’a Square sit-in. The March 2014 declaration was under Item 2 of the Council’s agenda, while 12 March declaration came under Item 4, related to human rights situations requiring urgent attention. The declaration conveys a clear message to the Egyptian government that its human rights violations have become grave and pervasive in a manner similar to violations and crimes committed in North Korea, Syria, Myanmar, and other countries with abysmal human rights records requiring attention under Item 4. It also indicates the extent of international concern regarding the implications of Egypt’s deteriorating human rights situation on its stability.

The joint declaration issued today, which ended years of international silence and inaction,  is an unequivocal  condemnation of the Egyptian government and its grave violations. The time is long overdue for Egypt to cease its human rights violations, in line with its international obligations. To this end, the signatory human rights organizations call on the Egyptian government to seriously address the provisions of the joint declaration, including by releasing all persons detained for exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association.

Signatory organisations:

  1. Al-Nadeem Center
  2. Belady Center for Rights and Freedoms
  3. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  4. Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
  5. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
  6. Committee for Justice
  7. Egyptian Front for Human Rights
  8. Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms

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