Subject: [fem-women2000 498] Egypt: Crackdown on NGOs Condemned
From: lalamaziwa <>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 10:48:58 +0900
Seq: 498

Forwarded by lalamaziwa <>
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 From: "Leslie Wright" <>
 To: <>
 Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2000 23:49:59 -0400
 Subject: [ngo-csw-ny] Human Rights

00.333236239 by INTERNET, July 07, 2000 at 17:56 Eastern 
[FROM: Human Rights Watch <>]! SUBJECT: Egypt: Crackdown
on NGOs Condemned

>From: Human Rights Watch <>
Subject: Egypt: Crackdown on NGOs Condemned
Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 14:56:20 -0700

Egypt: Crackdown on NGOs Condemned

(New York, July 8, 2000) -- Human Rights Watch today condemned the 
Egyptian government's escalating attacks on independent human rights 
activists and organizations. In the latest manifestation of this 
crackdown, security officials in the early hours of Wednesday raided the 
Hay'at Da'am al-Nakhibat [Association for the Support of Women Voters], 
and closed its offices after confiscating documents. Known locally as 
Hay'at Huda, after the renowned Egyptian womens' rights activist Huda 
Sha'rawi, the group provides educational and practical support for women 

This latest raid comes in the wake of the closure last week of the Ibn 
Khaldun Centre for Development Studies; the arrest of its director, Dr 
Saadeddin Ibrahim; and the issuance of summons against several others 
connected with the center. Human Rights Watch has not yet had a response 
to its letter of July 2 asking Egypt's Prosecutor General for immediate 
clarification of the charges and evidence against Dr Ibrahim and two 
others then being held in preventive detention. They reportedly face 
charges of forgery relating to the forthcoming parliamentary elections, 
and Dr Ibrahim is further accused of unauthorized fundraising and 
accepting foreign funds with the intent of damaging Egypt's reputation 
domestically and internationally. The center was preparing a training 
video and planning to monitor the elections scheduled for November.

"Arresting activists and conducting late night raids on independent 
organizations is what is damaging Egypt's reputation," said Hanny 
Megally, the executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and 
North Africa Division. "These attacks are clearly intended to intimidate 
and hamper the work of  independent non-governmental groups in the 
run-up to the elections." 

Such closures violate the basic right to freedom of association, which 
Egypt is committed to uphold, and are contrary to the provisions of the 
UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by consensus by the 
General Assembly in December 1998.

"It is difficult to separate these measures from the 
government-sponsored legislation governing the activities of 
non-governmental organizations, which we believe would have eroded and 
undermined the work of human rights defenders," Megally said.  Law 
No.153/1999, regulating the status of civil associations and 
institutions in Egypt, was declared unconstitutional by the 
country's Constitutional Court on June 3 of this year. 

Dr Ibrahim and at least three others (Tamer Nabil, Ahmad Ata, and Tareq 
Hassan), are currently being held in al-Torah Prison.  Nadia Abd 
al-Nour, a Sudanese national and finance director of the Ibn Khaldun 
Centre, is being held at the Women's Prison in Qanater.  She had begun a 
hunger strike following her arrest on June 30 in protest against her 
conditions of detention and denial of access to family members.  She was 
subsequently transferred to another part of the 
prison and allowed a visit from her brother, ending her hunger strike.  
Dr Ibrahim was allowed a visit by his wife.  No information is available 
on the situation of the other detainees.
Both the Ibn Khaldun Centre and Hay'at Da'am al-Nakhibat had applied for 
registration under this law and were awaiting a decision when the law 
was abrogated.  The director of Hay'at Da'am al-Nakhibat, Amina Shafiq, 
a journalist with the daily newspaper Al-Ahram and a 
prominent human rights activist, is a trustee of the Ibn Khaldun Centre, 
while Dr Ibrahim is the Treasurer of Hay'at Da'am al-Nakhibat.

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