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MRG and others urge the HRC to react to Egypt’s crackdown on defenders and civic space

15 March 2021

The following statement was delivered in the framework of the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), on behalf of a large group of NGOs, including Minority Rights Group International.

As NGOs from around the world[1] we welcome the joint declaration made by states under this Agenda Item condemning the widespread human rights violations being carried out by the Egyptian government – and view this declaration as the beginning of a long overdue process to ensure strong and consistent attention at this Council on the human rights crises in Egypt.

Earlier this year more than 100 NGOs from around the world wrote to UN member states to warn them that the Egyptian government is attempting to annihilate human rights organizations and eradicate the human rights movement in the country through sustained and systematic attacks.

Such attacks have occurred in the context of an ‘increasingly brutal crackdown on human rights defenders and civil and political rights more broadly,’ often carried out under the guise of ‘counterterrorism’.

The message today to the Egyptian government is clear: you will no longer be given carte blanche to imprison, torture, violate the right to life or murder peaceful critics.

Going forward, we urge this Council and its members to demand that Egypt begins to immediately release and provide remedy to all those arbitrarily detained,  including human rights defenders, journalists, academics, artists, lawyers and politicians, as well as those whose cases have been raised by the Special Procedures and OHCHR. [2]

#HRC46: #Egypt will “no longer be given carte blanche to imprison, #torture…or murder peaceful critics”: NGOs from around the world welcome action by UN on Egypt #HumanRights crises, and call for the immediate release of political prisoners.#FreeEgyptianDefenders

— CIHRS (CIHRS_Alerts) March 15, 2021

[1] This statement is delivered by the CIHRS in cooperation with:  Access Now, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), Amnesty International, Arab Network for Knowledge about Human Rights, L’Association Arts et Cultures des deux Rives,  L’association Création et Créativité pour le Développement et l’Embauche (C.C.D.E.), L’association Citoyenneté, Développement, Cultures & Migrations Des Deux Rives, L’Association Solidarité Laïque Tunisie, L’Association Tunisienne pour la Lutte contre la Torture, L’Association Tunisienne pour la Défense des Libertés Individuelle Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine), CIVICUS, Le Comité pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits de l’Homme en Tunisie, Committee for Justice, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Centre de Tunisie pour la Liberté de Presse, DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Dignity, The Egyptian Human Rights Forum (EHRF), Electronic Frontier Foundation, English PEN,  EuroMed Rights (The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network), Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR), Fondation Hassan Saadaoui pour l’Egalité et la Démocratie, Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et Sociaux, Freedom House, The Freedom Initiative, Global Focus,, Initiative franco-égyptienne pour les droits et les libertés (IFEDL), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Humanist and Ethical Union, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), The Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation,  Lawyers for Lawyers, The Legal Resources Centre (LRC), MENA Rights Group, Minority Rights Group International, Pan Africa ILGA , PEN International, People in Need (Czech Republic), Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, Réseau des Organisations de la Société Civile pour l’Observation et le Suivi des Élections  en Guinée (ROSE), The Tunisian Human Rights League, Tunisian Forum for Youth Empowerment, Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA),Vigilance pour La Démocratie et l’Etat Civil

Featured image: H.E. Mr. Didier Burkhalter, Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaks during the High Level Segment of the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council. Credit: UN Photo / Elma Okic.