NGOs

The Egyptian public and the international community were shocked last week by televised images of civilian Hamada Saber being dragged, stripped, and brutally beaten by police officers amid ongoing clashes between police and protesters in Cairo.

As Armenia prepares for a presidential election on February 18, the international community should direct its attention to a recent proposal by a presidential advisory body that—if implemented—would drastically increase government control over civil society in the country.

Driven by a growing fear of its own people and their demands for better governance, the Sudanese regime is intensifying its assault on humanitarian organizations and human rights activists, both at home and abroad.

 

This past week marks the first anniversary of an unprecedented assault on civil society in the history of Egypt. The Egyptian authorities raided 11 offices of human rights and democracy NGOs, including Freedom House’s Office in Cairo. The raid came after several months of an aggressive smear campaign in the Egyptian media against foreign funded NGOs.  The campaign particularly targeted local and international human rights defenders, defaming their activities, casting doubts on their intentions and accusing them of being a threat to national security.

On December 28, with little fanfare, Russia’s foreign ministry released a 90-page human rights report on the United States, Canada, and assorted European countries. There is no accompanying introduction, preface, or methodology for this rather slapdash document, entitled On the Human Rights Situation in a Number of the World’s States, but the selection of countries and their respective treatment makes it fairly clear that the report is meant to be a stick in the eye of the Kremlin’s perceived enemies, rather than any genuine attempt to promote human rights around the world.

A months-long campaign against civil-society groups by Egypt’s military leadership came to a head Thursday when Egyptian security forces raided the Cairo offices of Freedom House and several other international and local nongovernmental organizations. These attacks were a major setback to the hopes that emerged this year with the revolution in Tahrir Square. If corrective measures are not taken, the attacks will severely damage Egypt’s long-term stability and prospects for a more democratic future.
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