For Immediate Release: June 4, 2013
Washington, DC — Human Rights First is disturbed by the convictions of Egyptian and international employees of non-governmental organizations charged with “operating local offices of international organizations without the requisite licenses and illegally receiving foreign funds.” This verdict sends a threatening message to independent human rights groups in Egypt.
“This prosecution had a chilling effect on the work of independent human rights and democracy promotion organizations in Egypt. It should never have been brought.” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The fact that the court issued convictions in the case means that independent NGOs that wish to work in Egypt must do so under the threat of prosecution for exercising their basic human rights.”
Independent human rights organizations are at risk in Egypt. A new law governing the work of independent NGOs is before the legislature and may be passed any day. The law falls short of international human rights standards and appears to violate constitutional protections for freedom of association.