WE EXIST TO STRENGTHEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND CITIZEN ACTION
AROUND THE WORLD
The upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt on 5 November 2014 comes at a critical time for human rights, freedoms and independent Egyptian civil society, including rights defenders and democracy activists. As a group of organizations which have documented and spoken out against human rights violations in Egypt, we are urging your Government to use the UPR as an opportunity to challenge the authorities’ crackdown.
20 October 2014. CIVICUS is deeply worried about attacks on peaceful demonstrators in Hong Kong. Police have ramped up their efforts to disperse pro-democracy demonstrators calling for universal voting rights and an open ballot to elect Hong Kong’s chief executive in 2017.
Over the weekend, from 17- 19 October, more than 200 protesting citizens were injured in police raids on the camps of demonstrators. At least 30 demonstrators were arrested and face a wide-range of questionable charges ranging from damaging property, disorderly conduct, weapons possession and resisting arrest.
Even with a large majority of Hong Kong citizens calling for open and transparent elections, the Chinese government is unwilling to implement democratic reforms and is blaming a so called ‘third-force’ for instigating the protests. As the protests move into its fourth week, law enforcement agencies have begun using excessive force to try and silence law abiding citizens.
15 October 2014. The global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, urges Egypt’s authorities to end the judicial persecution of seven women human rights activists who are on trial for peacefully protesting a controversial assembly law that effectively bans public gatherings without police permission.
The current state of civil society in Egypt is dire. The military-backed government has introduced a number of measures to restrict freedom of speech and the right to assemble. It is also considering a law to restrict the ability of NGOs to receive funds from international sources with a view to stopping their human rights monitoring activities. Moreover, it has become common practice for judges to imprison non-violent youth campaigners that support basic democratic reforms. “The seven women that are on trial are not dangerous vandals as alleged by security forces, instead they are victims of a heavy-handed judicial system which arbitrarily punishes its most engaged and socially conscious citizens,” said Semanur Karaman, Policy and Research Officer at CIVICUS. “It is a travesty of justice to see these human rights defenders being subjected to these oppressive sanctions that are in violation of universal principles of international law,” said Karaman.