Democratic transition & human rights support center (DAAM) has fearfully and anxiously received the news about the referral of a number of activists with civil society organizations in Egypt to the judge of investigation in the case N° 2011-173, known also in media as the case of “foreign funding for civil society organizations”, which has undertaken a dangerous turn in the frame of a campaign launched by the government and the various security organs against civil society organizations, particularly human rights and cultural ones.
This fierce campaign has begun in November 2014 trying to force HR organizations to register under the Civil Associations Act N° 2002-84. The campaign then has become harsher and fiercer by the re-opening of the investigation in the case of the foreign funding after more than four years from its announcement. The investigation of the case was assigned to a board composed of three judges. At least, twenty human rights advocators have been prevented since 2014 from traveling outside the country. Since 2015, many of Egyptian civil society organizations activists have been summoned for interrogation regarding charges about the issue of receiving foreign funding. In 2016, the list of charges was extended to investigating the legality of the founding of several civil society organizations and centers without obtaining a license, and interrogation on suspicions regarding tax evasion of some organizations.
This has occurred in conjunction with the break-in and closure of some cultural institutions as well as freezing their activities. This coincides too with the decision that “El Nadim Center for Psychological Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence” has received from the Ministry of Health to close the center and the cancellation of its license, as well as the refusal of the Ministry of Social Solidarity the declaration of a number of organizations that have decided to register according to the provisions of Act N° 2002-84, without giving reasons. Some organizations have also become almost unable to work due to the ministry’s refusal to approve the joint ventures with legitimate foreign entities. As a consequence for these severe and disturbing threats, some organizations and associations have already stopped their activity or have transferred part of their activities outside Egypt .
DAAM confirms that data and facts clearly indicate the trend for eliminating civil society organizations in Egypt, specifically human rights and cultural ones. Moreover, it has became clear that there is a trend within some State institutions towards punishing Egyptian human rights movement, represented especially in human rights and civil society organizations, for their role in the revolution of January 25. They consider their role in the civic and political education, as well as their role in raising awareness of human rights and economic, cultural, social, public and individual freedoms, are the main reason for the revolution. Furthermore, they consider that role a charge.
DAAM warns from the implementation of Article 78 of the Penal Code, which has been modified by a decree law issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on September 23, 2014, with regard to human rights organizations, that punishes by imprisonment for life ” whoever who asks for himself or others, or accepts or takes, even through an intermediary, from a foreign country or those working for it, or from a natural or legal person, or from a local or foreign organization or any other party not affiliated with a foreign country and not working for it, cash or portable money, hardware, equipment, weapons, ammunition…etc, or promises to provide one or some of the above mentioned Items, with the intent to commit a malicious work against an national interest or compromising the independence of the country, its unity or territorial integrity, or carry out acts of hostility against Egypt or to breach public security and peace”.
DAAM calls for the respect of Article 62 and 75 of the Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt in 2014, and Articles 12 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, through urgent and practical procedures to abolish the travel ban decisions that have been taken, and to drop the charges brought against the activists and human rights advocators.
DAAM also calls for the immediate support for the Egyptian civil society organizations, and mainly the human rights and cultural movement, among regional or international organizations, under this oppressive atmosphere that human rights and cultural movement in Egypt have never witnessed before.
For Arabic version click here: http://daamdth.org/archives/198