The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), one of Egypt’s last independent human rights organizations, closed Monday. ANHRI made the announcement in a statement posted to its website, citing government pressure as the reason for its closure.
ANHRI was founded by a team of lawyers and activists in 2004 with a mission of defending freedom of expression and the press in Egypt and the Arab world. As part of its mission, ANHRI provided legal defenses to victims of human rights violations. The organization also documented violations against citizens, journalists, and political prisoners in an effort to raise awareness of the issue about the region.
In a statement, ANHRI described political instability and expansion of arrests against human rights defenders, journalists and political activists as reasons for the organization’s closure. The statement was accompanied by a list of attacks that ANHRI members have suffered over recent years, including thefts, violent physical assaults and illegal summonses.
ANHRI’s executive director, Gamal Eid, said: “We are suspending our institutional work and activities today, but we continue to be lawyers who have a conscience, and as individual, independent human rights defenders will work side by side with the few remaining independent human rights organizations, independent human rights defenders and the entire movement.”
ANHRI’s closure comes amid an increasingly severe crackdown on journalists and human rights organizations. In December 2021 Egypt ranked as one of the five worst jailers of journalists in a report issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The AP reached out to an Egypt government media officer for comment on the ANHRI’s statement. There was no response.