HRC43: The Right Livelihood Foundation and Nazra denounce Egypt’s unwillingness to concretely address human rights violations
On March 12th, on the occasion of the outcome and adoption of Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review held during the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Right Livelihood Foundation and Nazra for Feminist Studies delivered a statement denouncing the refusal by the Egyptian authorities to accept recommendations related to the criminalisation of civil society representatives under case 173/2011, and their continuous targeting of women human rights defenders. We expressed deep concern at the situation of 2016 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Mozn Hassan and called on Egypt to lift the travel bans and asset freezes imposed on herself and Nazra.
Read the oral statement below:
The Right Livelihood Foundation and Nazra for Feminist Studies welcome the recommendations received by Egypt to end abusive practices, such as judicial harassment, travel bans, and sexual violence-related crimes.
However, we note with deep concern that Egypt has labelled several recommendations related to the criminalisation of civil society actors and human rights defenders as “factually incorrect”.
On the contrary, what facts show is that civic space in Egypt is severely restricted, violations against human rights defenders remain the norm, and the authorities regularly attacks freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. At the end of 2019, over 4000 protesters were arrested simply for striving for a more just society by peacefully demonstrating against corruption.
We express our concern at the continuous targeting of leading women rights defenders and feminist activists, and at the restrictive and merely punitive, reprisal-intentioned policies against icons of the feminist movement. Those affected include Mozn Hassan, co-founder of Nazra and 2016 Right Livelihood Award Laureate.
Ms Hassan has been prosecuted under the infamous case 173/2011, known as the “NGO Foreign Funding Case”, under charges such as “inciting and calling for the irresponsible liberation of women”. In an attempt to prevent her to continue her human rights and feminist work, Egyptian authorities have put her under a prolonged travel ban and have imposed asset freezes on herself and Nazra.
We call on the Egyptian government to take effective measures to guarantee a free and active civil society in the country by closing case 173 and by lifting travel bans and asset freezes unfairly imposed on Ms Hassan and other human rights defenders and organisations.
Finally, we urge the government to respond positively, with an indicative time line and executive measures on the prompt implementation of the accepted recommendations.