Egyptian Security Forces Shut Down Freedom of Association Conference | Page 71 | Freedom House

Egyptian Security Forces Shut Down Freedom of Association Conference

Washington

The cancellation by Egyptian security of an international NGO conference in Cairo, just two days before it was to take place, is a brazen example of the government’s increasingly hostile behavior towards civil society, according to Freedom House.
 
The conference, entitled “Freedom of Association in the Arab World:  Reality and Expectations,” was organized by One World Foundation in cooperation with Al Sadat Association.  The purpose of the event was to discuss increasing limitations on freedom of association in Egypt, in the context of the broader experience in the Arab world.   Participants were to have included civil society organizations in the Arab world, former members of parliament from Europe, and American NGOs, including Freedom House.   The security services also recently cancelled an event organized to discuss the status of women’s rights in Egypt as well as banning several Freedom House employees from entering the country.   
 
“By cancelling this event, Egyptian authorities have clearly demonstrated that despite government claims to the contrary, freedom of association is not a right that is respected in the country,” said Paula Schriefer, acting executive director at Freedom House. “Freedom House demands that the government cease its restrictions on freedom of assembly and allow civil society conferences to take place unimpeded.”
 
Democracy and human rights activists as well as civil society organizations have been under attack in Egypt in recent weeks, including the abduction and interrogation of several members of pro-democracy groups. Freedom House recently sent a letter to President Mubarak, expressing its concern that Egypt has not lived up to its human rights commitments and more specifically, its distress that a number of Freedom House employees have been barred from the country for no apparent reason.
 
Egypt is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.
 
For more information on Egypt, visit:
 
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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