7 Egyptian rights groups back out of UNHRC summit over fears of persecution

Ahram Online , Tuesday 4 Nov 2014

The rights groups say they won't be traveling to Geneva in light of 'an environment hostile to the work of NGOs' in Egypt

Seven Egyptian rights groups said they won't be part of any delegation participating in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week and also won't attend any of the event's activities, fearing persecution back home.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the rights groups said they cancelled their conferences planned for the sidelines of the Geneva event in light of "an environment hostile to the work of NGOs" in Egypt.

The undersigned groups highlighted that the UN event comes days ahead of a 10 November ultimatum given by the Egyptian government to non-governmental organisations to abide an 2002 NGO law which they've condemned as restrictive and oppressive.

The NGOs' statement said they had sought to hold dialogue with the government over the new law and extend the given deadline until another law is drafted, "in accordance with the new constitution and Egypt's international agreements".   

The seven organisations include the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, the Association for Egyptian Women Affairs and Nazra for Feminist Studies.

The undersigned groups were among others that released an earlier statement with their proposed recommendations for the upcoming UN event.

Ibrahim El-Heneidy, minister of transitional justice, travelled to Geneva on Sunday as part of a national committee that will be presenting a report on human rights in Egypt.


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