NPWJ strongly condemns intensified crackdown on civil society in Egypt

5 Jun, 2013 | Press Releases

Brussels- Rome- New York, 5 June 2013

Yesterday, an Egyptian court convicted 43 NGO workers, among them 15 Americans, of illegally operating non-governmental organisations and accepting unauthorised foreign funds, sentencing them to between one and five years in prison. The court also ordered the closure of the Egypt offices of the NGOs involved.
The case began on 29 December 2011, when Egyptian authorities raided the offices of 17 local and international pro-democracy and human rights NGOs  as part of an investigation vowed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) into foreign funding of such groups in violation of Egyptian laws. Among the groups targeted were the local offices of the U.S.-based International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Freedom House, as well as the German-based Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Statement by Niccoló Figa-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice:
“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) strongly condemn the increased campaign of harassment, intimidation and arbitrary restrictions carried out by Egyptian political and judicial authorities against human rights defenders.

“The verdict issued yesterday, along with a recent draft law on NGOs that would impose tight restrictions on Egyptian civic groups, is a major setback and recalls similar campaigns carried out during the previous dictatorial regime. By curtailing fundamental human rights, such as freedom of association, the Egyptian authorities blatantly contradict the spirit of the revolution and violate Egypt’s international commitments under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“Since the revolution began, civil society – restricted almost out of existence under the previous regime, unless linked to the government – has flourished. Civil society groups are playing a key role in the democratic transition and development process in Egypt, by mobilising people and promoting their participation in public life, which is critical to empower the people and fully embrace democratic values and freedoms denied for decades.

“It is only by fully endorsing the values and principles of democracy and the rule of law and by supporting the development of a dynamic and diverse civil society, that the Egyptian authorities can keep the flame of the revolution alight and ensure that accountable institutions and democracy thrive”

For further information, please contact: Gianluca Eramo, email:, phone: +32 2 548 39 12 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32 2 548 39 15.