Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler issued the following statement today (10 February) regarding the closure of the Nadeem Center in Cairo:
“The ever greater curtailment of civil society engagement in Egypt fills me with great concern. The closure on 9 February of the Nadeem Center, which provided medical assistance for victims of torture and domestic violence, is part of this pattern.
Lasting stability cannot be achieved without a free civil society and respect for human rights. I call on the Egyptian Government to reopen El Nadeem and to create conditions in which human rights groups can do their work unhindered – work that is important for the country.”
Premises of the Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence in Cairo were sealed by the authorities on 9 February. The Nadeem Center is an independent Egyptian NGO which campaigns against torture and provides medical assistance for torture victims and victims of physical violence.
Human rights activists and organisations in Egypt are currently being subjected to an unprecedented level of investigation. In 2016, the bank accounts of organisations such as the Nadeem Center, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and the NGO Nazra for Feminist Studies were frozen. Known activists like Gamal Eid and Hossam Bahgat were banned from leaving the country, and their bank accounts were likewise frozen.
The Egyptian anti‑terror law provides for harsh penalties, including life imprisonment, for acts that “harm national interests or endanger social peace or the independence or unity of Egypt” and lays down strict conditions for NGOs’ work in the international sphere and for accepting funding from abroad.