Three UN human rights experts experts urged Egypt [press release] on Monday to cease its ongoing crackdown on humans rights defenders and organizations. They stated that Egypt is failing in its international responsibility to provide a safe and enabling environment for civil society in the country. The experts added that the Egyptian government must immediately put an end to all forms of persecution and take effective measures to protect members of human rights organizations, specifically members of Nazra for Feminist Studies, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies [advocacy websites] and the United Group – Attorneys at Law and Legal Advisors, who have been subject to interrogation and threatened with arrest warrants and prosecutions.
Egypt [BBC timeline] has been internationally scrutinized in recent months over its many human rights infringements and free speech violations. Of particular concern with Egypt’s constitutional and human rights is the prosecution and imprisonment of journalists by the Egyptian government, which has garnered widespread criticism from governments and rights groups worldwide. Two weeks ago, Egypt Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind was relieved of his position after he stated that he would even imprison the Prophet Mohammed in response a question regarding the imprisonment of journalists. In January non-governmental organizations issued a joint statement [JURIST report] to the Egyptian parliament giving recommendations to ensure the enforcement of constitutional and human rights. In December Egyptian lawyer Nasser Aminchallenged a law [JURIST report] that allows writers to be jailed for writings that violate Egyptian “morals.” In August 2015 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi [BBC profile] approved [JURIST report] a 54-article counter-terrorism law that has been met with significant controversy, as many believe it infringes on the freedom of the press. Many have said that the law defines terrorism too broadly and imposes harsh sentences and fines on violators. The same month Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] criticized [JURIST report] the law saying it infringes on freedom of the press.