Human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has called for urgent action against the crackdown on non-governmental organisaitons in Egypt.
The call was part of a statement released on Friday, calling on people around the world and across Egypt to confront officials regarding three issues.
AI urged for international actors to press Egyptian authorities by asking them to immediately revoke their decision to close El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, and to lift all travel bans and asset freezes imposed upon human rights defenders and other NGO staff for exercising their right to freedom of association.
The organization also urged for the new law regulating NGOs to be in line with international standards and the Egyptian constitution, and for NGOs to be given a reasonable grace period to register under the new law.
AI called on sending appeals before 20 May, namely to Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali, deputy assistant foreign minister Mahy Abdel Latif, and copies to the president of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) Mohamed Fayek, in addition to diplomatic representatives accredited to the sender’s country.
Since the 25 January Revolution, several NGOs have been persecuted for their work. The restrictions, however, became more significant over the past month as several human rights defenders in Egypt were summoned for investigation over accusations of receiving foreign funds.
In mid-February, officials visited El-Nadeem Centre following an order from the Health Ministry and Azbakiya district authorities with the intent of shutting down the office for purported violations.
The attempt drew widespread criticism from other NGOs who have faced similar restrictions on their work, including prominent rights defender Gamal Eid. Eid, who is head of the Arab Network of Human Rights and Information (ANHRI), previously told Daily News Egypt that the current human rights situation is at its worst compared to the past 30 years.
Eid was subjected to a travel ban in February and his assets were frozen along with journalist Hossam Bahgat and Mohamed Lotfy, director of the Egyptian Commission on Rights and Freedoms (ECRF).
Ministry of Social Solidarity said in early April it has held discussions in with more than 600 NGOs in various fields across the country on the NGO draft laws of 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Based on these discussions and in the presence of civil society experts, the ministry said it has revised civil society organisations’ recommendations and suggestions regarding the new draft.