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Secretary Rice Meets with 'New Generation' of Egyptian Reformers
On International Human Rights Day, December 10, seven young Egyptian human rights activists discussed with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice the need for greater U.S. support for democratic reform in Egypt.
The activists, who are in Washington on fellowships as part of Freedom House’s New Generation of Advocates program, urged Secretary Rice to forcefully stand up for human rights advocates in Egypt through consistent diplomatic support.
“Freedom of association is under attack in Egypt,” said one of the fellows during the meeting. “The newly proposed NGO law will further limit the ability of Egyptian civil society to register, operate and advocate for their causes. “
“We emphasized to Secretary Rice that Egypt has been suffering under an emergency law for 25 years,” said a second fellow. “For legitimate and peaceful civil society to flourish, the Egyptian government needs to lift the state of emergency, not simply replace it with a recently proposed anti-terrorism law and an NGO law, both of which institutionalize repression."
The group highlighted women's and minority rights as other major priorities for democratic reform.
Freedom House’s New Generation of Advocates program supports young Middle Eastern reformers and brings them to the U.S. and central and eastern Europe on fellowships designed to strengthen their advocacy skills and support networks. The current group includes journalists, lawyers, and other activists who advocate for democratic reform, anti-violence, human rights, and women’s rights in Egypt.
Egypt is ranked as Not Free in the 2007 edition of Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties.
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Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties in Egypt since 1972.
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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.