Letter to To EU-Egypt sub-committee for human rights, democracy, international and regional affairs

In Euro-Mediterranean Partnership by

Cairo, January 16, 2008

To EU-Egypt sub-committee for human rights, democracy, international and regional affairs

A letter by 32 NGOs

With reference to your clear policy in support of NGOs&#146 role in the process of development as well as your full adoption of human rights&#146 universal principles, we would like to draw to your attention that the Egyptian Civil society is the subject of governmental vexations since the beginnings of 2007. This assault that aims at limiting the role of the Civil Society in general and NGOs&#146 role in particular was translated by the decision to lockout the Center of Workers and Syndicate Services in April 2007 and the Association of Legal Support for Human Rights in September the same year with no legal grounds or justification. Consequently, the two organizations have filed a suit before the High Administrative Court at the State Council where the cases are currently examined.

In parallel, diverse media have disseminated statements of officials about the intention of the Ministry of Social Solidarity to submit to the Parliament amendments to Law 84 of 2002 regulating the activities of NGOs; according to the available information, the proposed amendments will impose additional restrictions on the right of association and organization.

Several Egyptian non-governmental organizations are worried about this unjustified escalation against the Civil Society especially in a time requiring the promotion of a social dialogue between NGOs and the executive power in order to enhance the role of voluntary bodies for the benefit of the society as a whole. Therefore, these organizations have launched a campaign for the right of association that addressed a request a few months ago to the Ministry of Social Solidarity – among other activities – to open a discussion between the two parties about the proposed amendments. Up to date, no answer was received to this request.

Accordingly, we would like to state that there is a blatant contradiction between the Egyptian government&#146s commitments to human rights as per the plan of action agreed upon between Egypt and the European party in March 2007, mainly the commitment to ensure the right of association and the independence of the Civil Society, and what practically happens today. Therefore, we urge you to adopt this issue on top of your priorities at the meeting of the sub-committee for human rights, democracy, international and regional affairs that will be held in Cairo on January 23-24 2008.

Sincerely yours,

Signatory organizations (by alphabetical order)

1. Andalus institute for tolerance and inti- violence studies
2. Arab Council for fair and trial
3. Arabic network for human rights information
4. Association for freedom of though and expression
5. Cairo institute for human rights studies
6. Candles for the rights of individuals with disabilities
7. Center prospects for socialist
8. Centre Foundation Women&#146s Issues
9. Civil Observatory for Human Rights
10. Communication Centre for development
11. Community development of democracy
12. Egyptian Center for Child Rights
13. Egyptian Centre for Development and Democratic Studies
14. Egyptian Foundation for family support
15. Egyptian initiative for personal rights
16. El Nadim Centre
17. Forum for development and human rights dialogue
18. Habi center for environmental rights
19. Hisham Mubarak legal Center
20. Land center for human rights
21. New Foundation for Women
22. The Arab Organization for support the civil society and human rights
23. The Arab program for human rights
24. The association for human rights legal aid
25. The center for trade union and workers services
26. The Egyptian Democratic Institute
27. The Egyptian Association against Torture
28. The Egyptian association for community participation enhancement
29. The Egyptian Association for sustainable participation development
30. The Egyptian center for human rights
31. The Egyptian Center for Women Rights
32. The Egyptian Society for development democratic


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