German Government concerned about repression against Egyptian human rights organisations

22.03.2016 - Press release

A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement in Berlin today (22 March) on measures against human rights organisations by the Egyptian authorities:

We are following the latest travel bans, bank account freezes and investigations against human rights activists and organisations in Egypt with great concern. These steps not only contravene international human rights standards, but also the Egyptian Constitution.

Respect for human rights and a free civil society are a prerequisite for sustainable stability. We call on the Egyptian Government to create conditions in which human rights groups can do their work unhindered – work that is important for the country.

Background information:

In recent weeks, human rights organisations in Egypt have been targeted by state repression and investigations on an unprecedented scale.

In the past few days, organisations including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Nazra for Feminist Studies and the El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, and well-known activists such as Gamal Eid and Hossam Bahgat, have had their bank accounts frozen and been banned from leaving the country.

A counter-terrorism law adopted in 2015 lays down heavy penalties, including life imprisonment, for “harmful acts against the national interest or acts that destabilise the general peace, independence or unity of Egypt” and stipulates strict approval regulations for operating an “organisation with an international range” and “accepting funding from abroad”.

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