Despite the mistakes committed by former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood over the past year in Egypt, and despite the incitement and violence demonstrated by some Brotherhood supporters yesterday, the killing of hundreds of protesters carried out by the Egyptian military government was unnecessary, unjustified, and in contravention of international human rights standards. These events demand a shift in U.S. policy that is urgent and long overdue.
Freedom House is deeply disturbed by the escalating violence in Egypt, with at least 149 reported dead and hundreds injured as a result of a crackdown by Egyptian security forces against supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi. Reprisals against Egyptian Christians are on the rise, and the violence seems likely to escalate unless all parties exercise restraint.
The fall of Hosni Mubarak raised hopes for a democratic transition in Egypt, but these hopes have been dashed by successive governments. Human rights abuses increased during the interim rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), persisted under the elected government of President Mohamed Morsi, and have continued since the military-backed government of Adly Mansour took power on July 3. In the past month, Egypt’s democratic institutions have suffered a significant decline, according to Freedom House’s Egypt Democracy Compass.
The fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 raised expectations for a democratic transition in Egypt. However, over the past 30 months, severe human rights violations have continued, first under the interim military junta, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), and then under the presidency of Mohamed Morsi and his Freedom and Justice Party, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
The Egypt Democracy Compass is designed to provide a snapshot of the country’s trajectory, either toward or further away from a truly democratic system, on a monthly basis. The compass will assess progress in eight key components of democratic transition: the constitution, elections, political participation, civilian control and security-sector reform, media freedom and freedom of expression, religious freedom, peaceful assembly and civic activism, and judicial independence and rule of law.
This report evaluates the risks and vulnerabilities of mobile phone services and apps in 12 specified countries, analyzing multiple mobiel technologies to determine their capacity to protect security and privacy and to combat censorship and surveillance.
Download the full report here.
Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rightsexamines the human rights implications of domestic blasphemy and religious insult laws using the case studies of seven countries—Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Poland—where such laws exist both on paper and in practice. Without exception, blasphemy laws violate the fundamentalfreedom of expression, as they are by definition intended to protect religious institutions and religious doctrine– i.e., abstract ideas and concepts – from insult or offence. At their most benign, such laws lead to self-censorship. In Greece and Poland, two of the more democratic countries examined in the study, charges brought against high-profile artists, curators and writers serve as a warning to others that certain topics are off limits. At their worst, in countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia, such laws lead to overt governmental censorship and individuals are both prosecuted and subject to severe criminal penalties including lengthy jail sentences.
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