General: Egypt: El Nadeem Centre for Management and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence served with closure order

19.02.16

Authorities in Egypt have ordered the closure of prominent Cairo-based El Nadeem Centre for Management and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence. Founded in 1993, El Nadeem, provides essential support to victims of torture and other violence and campaigns on human rights issues.

On 17 February 2016 El Nadeem received an “administrative closure order” on the grounds that it had breached the terms of its license. However, no details of the alleged breach were given. According to information received, the closure has been postponed until 22 February when centre representatives will meet with the Heath Ministry to discuss reasons behind the order.

The closure order comes against a background of a crackdown on human rights organisations and activists in Egypt and a rise in the number of forcible disappearances and allegations of torture of detainees and human rights activists at the hands of state officials.

The organisation is one of the most well-established and reputable independent NGOs in Egypt and, despite being under-resourced, has served victims of torture throughout the Gulf region and neighbouring countries including Syria, tirelessly and effectively. Since its foundation El Nadeem’s work has expanded and it now campaigns on issues of torture, violence against women, democracy and freedom of civil society.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses solidarity with El Nadeem and strongly condemns the order to closure the organisation. It calls on the Government in Egypt to immediately revoke the order.

The GCHR urges the authorities in Egypt to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally revoke the order to close El Nadeem;
  2. Ensure that it is allowed to carry out its important work in a safe environment;
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights organizations in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment. 

The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 5 (b): “For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups” and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present declaration.”