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Civil society must unite in solidarity with brave Egyptian brothers and sisters

Johannesburg. 9 February 2011. On behalf of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and our members and partners around the world I would like to express  solidarity with civil society in Egypt, currently at the forefront of the citizen movement against President Mubarak's 30 year authoritarian rule. 

We want all citizens of Egypt and CIVICUS' members and partners there to know they are not alone in their struggle for democratic rights. Millions of people on every continent stand united in solidarity with you as you risk your safety, livelihoods, even your lives, to take on a regime which for too long has stifled your democratic rights and freedoms.   

Your courage is testament to the thousands of Egyptians who have suffered imprisonment, torture and assassination at the hands of President Mubarak's regime, which has systematically suppressed the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people and curtailed the ability of civil society to exercise its rights to expression, association and assembly. Already the death toll in this wave of struggle has claimed over 300 lives and caused injury to thousands as an unrepentant regime clings to power by any means at their command.

Your resolve and determination against these tactics are a beacon of hope and inspiration to human rights defenders and civil society activists around the world. It also sends a strong signal to tyrants and their backers that justice, equity and freedom are the best guarantors of the stability and security they claim to defend. Your example has strengthened and renewed our belief in the power of citizens to prevail against the seemingly powerful. On behalf of your civil society counterparts engaged in struggles for justice, accountability and freedom in many countries we express our profound gratitude.

The international community has a critical role to play in helping the Egyptian people realise their aspirations for a free and democratic society. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, has pointed out that Egypt's long term record on human rights is a key factor in these protests. On 1 February, her office affirmed: "The population appears to be clearly rejecting a system that has deprived people of fundamental rights, and has committed a range of serious abuses, including widespread acts of torture."

We urge other leaders in the region and around the globe who profess democratic values to clearly express their support for the aims of the Egyptian people, to desist from providing encouragement, overt and covert, to a regime that has long lost any claim to legitimacy and to unequivocally condemn the crude violence and subversive tactics with which the regime has sought to undermine the movement. 

It should be clear that the current protests in Egypt are not an isolated event. They are part of a natural outpouring of public anger against corrupt, authoritarian governments that persist in denying their citizens freedom, justice and dignity. The people of Egypt have demonstrated that they will not be diverted, pressured or thwarted in their quest.  CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation wholeheartedly supports their struggle. 


CIVICUS is a legally registered non-profit 501 (c) (3) organisation, EIN 52-1847010 (USA)

CIVICUS is a registered non-profit organisation, registration number 029-864-NPO (South Africa) 

As a signatory/member to the INGO Accountability Charter CIVICUS is committed to upholding the highest standards of professional conduct and accountability.

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