Egypt | Human Rights Council must support and protect NGOs


Human rights NGOs from around the world call on States to urgently address Egypt's ongoing, systematic repression of human rights defenders and organisations.

Eight human rights organisations from around the world, including ISHR, have called on the Human Rights Council to do more to urgently protect human rights defenders in Egypt. The statement delivered to the Council follows the freezing of assets and bank accounts of a number of the country's leading organisations earlier this month.

‘Egyptian human rights defenders need the support of this Council, particularly those States that have repeatedly expressed their commitment to protecting human rights defenders,’ said Ms Pooja Patel of ISHR, ‘We urge States to demonstrate their genuine leadership in this regard.’

Despite repeated alarm expressed by civil society, as well as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, over the continuing crackdown on human rights defenders and organisations in the country, there is yet to be a concrete, coordinated and systematic response by the international community.

The joint oral statement to the Council further condemned the failure of the government of Egypt to protect civil society.

Human rights groups highlighted Egypt’s incompatibility with the Vienna Declaration and Programme for Action, a UN consensus document that enshrines the universal nature of all human rights and fundamental freedoms is beyond question. It also makes clear that the ‘administration of justice, … especially, an independent judiciary and legal profession in full conformity with applicable standards contained in international human rights instruments, are essential to the full and non-discriminatory realization of human rights’.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, the judiciary has been used as a tool in the ongoing crackdown on civil society, systematically failing to respect fair procedures. The most recent example of which has resulted in the judicial harassment of five human rights defenders - Bahey el din Hassan, Hossam Bahgat, Gamal Eid, Mostafa El-Hassan, and Abdel Hafiz Tayel - and three human rights NGOs - Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and Center for the Right to Education.

Human rights NGOs have called on the government of Egypt to close the politically-motivated Case no. 173, known as the ‘foreign funding case’, and to immediately end all forms of harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders.

The full statement delivered by Ms Patel on behalf of Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Centros de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Conectas Direitos Humanos, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Programme (EHAHRDP), Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), can be found here.  


  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • Human rights defenders
  • NGOs
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • Egypt