Egypt: Civil society faces existential threat
The ICJ has joined other international NGOs in a joint statement of concern about the severe and worsening repression of civil society in Egypt.
Together with, Amnesty International, CIVICUS, EuroMed Rights, FIDH, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch, IFEX, the International Service for Human Rights, People in Need and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the ICJ highlights a number of anti-civil society measures and cases in Egypt, ultimately calling on Egyptian authorities to immediately take the following steps to address the severe violations against human rights defenders:
- Abide by their own pledges made in March 2015 at the conclusion of Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review before the United Nations Human Rights Council to “respect the free exercise of the associations defending human rights,” and comply with their obligations under Article 75 of the 2014 Constitution, which protects civil society organizations from interference by the government.
- Close the politically-motivated Case 173 of 2011, known as the “foreign funding case,” and withdraw all measures of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders taken with reference to that case, including travel bans, the asset freeze order and trumped-up tax investigations.
- Amend penal code Article 78, which in very broad terms penalises the receipt of foreign funding without government approval and imposes a penalty of up to life imprisonment, which in practice in Egypt is 25 years, in addition to a 500,000 Egyptian pound fine (US$56,300).
- Cease all additional forms of legal and other harassment of human rights defenders.
- Repeal the Protest Law (Law 107 of 2013), which severely restricts the right to peaceful assembly, or amend it in order to bring it in line with international human rights law and the Egyptian constitution.
- Repeal the Counter-Terrorism Law (Law 94 of 2015), which effectively criminalizes freedom of expression, association and assembly, or amend it substantially to bring it in line with international human rights law and standards.
- Immediately release all individuals imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly; drop the charges against them and ensure that any who have been convicted have their convictions quashed.
The full statement may be downloaded in PDF format here: Egypt-Advocacy-JointNGOStatement-2016