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08 Mar 2019 - 04 Mar 2021
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Egypt Crackdown on Civil Society
Egypt’s civil society is shrinking under relentless government crackdown. A 2017 law regulating nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) has ushered in unprecedented levels of repression and will criminalize the work of many NGOs, making it impossible for them to function independently.
Under persistent national and international pressure, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asked for revision of the law in November 2018, but it’s unlikely that any revisions will respect the right to free association.
The information we have compiled here is part of a new Human Rights Watch project dedicated to defending Egyptian civil society. We will post all of our research and commentary   here about the latest developments affecting independent organizations and activists in Egypt.
February 18, 2019 Video
Egypt: A Target On Civil Society
Prosecutions, shutdowns, travel bans, frozen assets… Egypt’s crackdown against non-governmental organizations, in numbers
Even before Egypt’s government issued its 2017 law, it had squeezed shut whatever limited space remained for independent organizations. The government has relentlessly been prosecuting scores of staff members of the country’s leading human rights organizations, typically by charging them with “receiving foreign funds.” The government banned more than 30 of the country’s leading human rights defenders from leaving the country and threatens to jail them at any moment.
The authorities have frozen the assets of seven leading human rights organizations and shut down others. The authorities have also dissolved over 2,000 charity organizations, confiscating their assets, on charges that they have links to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. This non-stop assault on non-governmental organizations and their staff has severely shrunk public sphere for what was once a vibrant civil society scene, even during the decades of Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic presidency.
While al-Sisi’s government depends heavily on foreign aid from many governments such as the EU, the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, old and new laws make it nearly impossible for non-government organizations to obtain foreign funding. The staff of organizations that receive foreign funds risk prosecution that could lead to a life sentence.
Egyptian authorities should drop all existing criminal investigations into nongovernmental groups for doing their work and repeal the 2017 law in accordance with its domestic and international obligations to protect freedom of association.
Governments with ties to Egypt, particularly those that fund it, should speak up now to prevent the disappearance of independent, non-governmental groups.
March 21, 2019 Video
Foreign Funding in Egypt: OK for You, But Not OK for Us?
July 24, 2019 Report
April 5, 2019 News Release
March 8, 2019 News Release
November 18, 2018 News Release
November 14, 2018 Dispatches
Elisa Epstein
Senior Advocacy Coordinator
June 21, 2018 Dispatches
Elisa Epstein
Senior Advocacy Coordinator
October 23, 2017 News Release
September 11, 2017 Commentary
David Mepham
UK Director
Published In: Bright Blue
June 2, 2017 News Release
March 24, 2017 News Release
February 9, 2017 News Release
January 12, 2017 News Release
Read More
July 24, 2019
Disproportionately Huge Fines; Ban on Links with Foreign Groups
Latest Updates
Daily Brief August 2, 2019
Step forward for women's rights in Saudi Arabia; a glimpse into Kangaroo court in Equatorial Guinea; Hungary again caught starving people in custody; interview on the International Labour Organization's new treaty; polluted air's effect on children; lack of justice in Sri Lanka; and warring parties still targeting civilians in conflicts. 
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