Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (26 April) on the release of Egyptian journalists and the latest developments affecting civil society in Egypt:
I welcome the release of the photojournalist Mohammed Hassan Mostafa. He is the latest in a series of detained journalists to be released. We are continuing to monitor the entire process very closely. Two weeks ago, the journalist and activist Solafa Magdy and her husband Hossam Sayyad were released. I would like to expressly call on the Egyptian authorities to continue down this path and to guarantee all citizens of Egypt the unrestricted ability to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and of the press as laid down in the Egyptian constitution.
An improved legal framework for the important work of civil society organisations, which is crucial for the exercise of freedom of speech, is now offered by the new law on non-governmental organisations in Egypt. But the crucial factor will be how the law is implemented in practice. The potential of this law and its implementing provisions must genuinely be used to empower members of civil society in all areas and allow them to speak and act freely. I also welcome Egypt’s resolute action to continue the fight against genital mutilation with its latest amendments to the law.
In recent weeks, several journalists have been released from detention in Egypt. However, the charges against them have not been dropped and investigations are continuing. Those released include the renowned journalist and activist Solafa Magdy, who had been detained since November 2019, and her husband Hossam Sayyad. In a joint statement issued at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, 31 states – including Germany – called on the Egyptian government to improve the human rights situation in the country and to respect the freedom of the press. On 11 January 2021, the ordinance implementing the new law on non-governmental organisations, passed in 2019, came into force in Egypt.