Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Public Prosecutor

Hesham Mohamed ZakiBarakat

Office of the Public Prosecutor

Supreme Court House, 1 ?26 July? RoadCairo,

Arab Republic of Egypt

Fax: +202 2 577 4716+202 2 575 7165

Email:[email protected],

[email protected]

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.

I would like to draw your attention to the following case.

On 9 June 2015, authorisation was granted to a committee of experts to inspect the main offices of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) in the Egyptian capital. The authorisation was made by the investigating judge appointed to investigate human rights NGOs. The CIHRS’s sources of funding, activities, membership and legal status shall now be investigated in order to assess whether the organisation complies with the restrictive Association Law 84/2002.

CIHRS is a prominent NGO which was founded in Egypt in 1993. It works for the promotion of human rights in Egypt and the Arab region through advocacy, policy research and human rights education. CIHRS enjoys consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC and observer status with the African Commission for Human and Peoples? Rights. In December 2014, CIHRS decided to move its regional and international programs to Tunisia in light of increasing threats to human rights organisations in Egypt. It was awarded the French Republic Award for Human Rights in December 2007.

The authorisation of inspection follows a speech delivered by Mr Bahey Edin Hassan, CIHRS’s founder and general director, before the European Parliament Human Rights Subcommittee on 28 May 2015, concerning the general human rights situation in Egypt.

The investigation of CIHRS is a clear indication that Egyptian authorities are taking serious steps to implement their plan, announced in July 2014, to shut down all associations which do not comply with Association Law 84/2002. CIHRS is the second organisation to be targeted by the investigating judge. The Egyptian Democratic Academy is currently being investigated following the same procedure. Four members of the organisation’s staff, including its founders, have been banned from travelling. Judicial investigation into illegal foreign funding allegedly received by human rights organisations led in June 2013 to the closure of the offices of five international NGOs in Egypt and the conviction of 43 of their foreign and Egyptian staff members. Such investigations began to take place in 2011.

Restrictions imposed on Egyptian civil society have been intensifying steadily over recent years through the criminalisation of their work, stigmatisation in both public and private media, suffocating legal requirements and restrictions on access to funding. CIHRS’s director and one of its board members were forced to leave Egypt in 2014 for concerns over their personal security following the receipt of death threats.

I urge the authorities in Egypt to refrain from bringing any proceedings against CIHRS and its members, and to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

I urge the authorities in Egypt to:

1. Immediately drop the investigation into the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, as it is believed that it is being carried out on the basis of a represive law designed to permit the use of legal force against organisations in order to greatly restrict and ultimately end their legitimate work in the defence of human rights;

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

Human Rights Defender & ?Freelance Journalist

Twitter @wnicholasgomes

Email: [email protected]

www.facebook.com/williamnicholasgomes

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