U.N. declaration: Egypt’s attack on civil society must desist

Access Now joins the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and civil society organizations from around the world in welcoming and supporting a joint declaration by U.N. member states condemning the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt — both online and off.

Presented at the U.N. Human Rights Council 46th session on Friday 12 March, under Agenda Item 4, the statement signed by 31 states highlights governments’ “deep concern” over the widespread human rights violations committed by authorities in Egypt.

“For too long, the government of Egypt has committed deplorable acts of brutality against civil society in Egypt through online censorship and the iron-fist of the law,” said Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy Manager at Access Now. “But with this U.N. declaration, we hope the days of impunity and unchecked abuses end here.”

The declaration draws attention to increased restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, shrinking space for civic participation, and ongoing control of media in the country. “We call on Egypt to lift restrictions on media and digital freedom and to end the practice of blocking the websites of independent media outlets, and to release all journalists who have been arrested in the course of practicing their profession,” it states.

The statement came after Access Now and over 100 civil society and human rights organizations called on governments to take action on Egypt’s human rights crisis, and establish a monitoring and reporting mechanism at the United Nations Human Rights Council.