Egypt: Threat of imminent closure to the El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence and Torture

19/02/2016
Urgent Appeal

EGY 001 / 0216 / OBS 019
Harassment /
Restrictions to freedom of association
Egypt
February 19, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the threat of imminent closure addressed by Egyptian authorities to the El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence and Torture (“Nadeem Center”) [1], based in Cairo.

According to the information received, on February 17, 2016 at about 4 p.m. two police officers from the Azbakeyya District authority and one city employee ordered the employees of the Nadeem Center to leave the center’s premises. The three men delivered an “administrative closure order” signed by the Director of the Health Ministry’s Free Treatment Directorate and addressed to the head of the Azbakeyya district authority, referring to a violation of Law 453/1954 [2]. The document ordered the closure of the Center based on a decision signed on February 8, 2016, “for breaching license conditions” (providing no further information) stamped by the Cairo district on February 15.

The implementation of the order has been postponed until February 22 when the Center representatives will meet with the Ministry of Health to discuss the reasons for the closure order.

At the beginning of the month of February, the Center was visited by an employee of the Ministry of Health, who came to inspect the Center based on an order given by phone from the Minister of Health himself. The Minister employee did not have any official papers nor an inspection warrant. The employee of the Ministry ordered a copy of the Center’s license. No breaches of regulations were noted in that occasion.

The decision to close the Nadeem Center comes at a time of rising government pressure on independent human rights groups in Egypt, in the context of a dramatic deterioration of the human rights situation, marked namely by a notable increase in cases of torture, deaths in detention, forced disappearances and a crackdown on civil society, including peaceful protesters and human rights defenders.

The Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately cease all acts of harassment against the Nadeem Center and against all human rights organisations in the country, and to comply with its constitutional obligations (in particular Article 78 and Article 93 of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution which respectively recognise the right to freedom of association and Egypt’s compliance with international human rights conventions ratified by Egypt) as well as its international legal obligations (in particular Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – ICCPR).

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Egypt asking them to:

i.Put an end to all forms of harassment against the Nadeem Center all human rights organisations and defenders in Egypt;

ii.Cancel the order to close the Nadeem Center;

iii.Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with:

- its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
- its Article 5(b): “For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels (b) To form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups;”
- its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Egypt.

Addresses:

· President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Abedine Palace, Cairo, Egypt, Fax: +202 23901998
· Prime Minister, Mr. Sherif Ismail, Magles El Shaab Street, Kasr El Aini Street, Cairo, Egypt. Fax: + 202 2735 6449 / 27958016. Email: primemin@idsc.gov.eg
· Minister of the Interior, General Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, Ministry of the Interior, El-Sheikh Rihan Street, Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt, E-mail: moi1@idsc.gov.eg, Fax: +202 2579 2031 / 2794 5529
• Minister of Justice, Mr. Ahmed Al-Zanad, Ministry of Justice, Magles El Saeb Street, Wezaret Al Adl, Cairo, Egypt, E-mail: mojeb@idsc.gov.eg, Fax: +202 2795 8103
• Public Prosecutor, Counsellor Nabeel Sadek, Dar al-Qadha al-Ali, Ramses Street, Cairo, Egypt, Fax: +202 2577 4716
• Mr. Mohamed Fayeq, President of the National Council For Human Rights, Fax: + 202 25747497 / 25747670. Email: nchr@nchr.org.eg
• H.E. Ms. Wafaa Bassim, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva, 49 avenue Blanc, 1202 Genève, Switzerland, Email: mission.egypt@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 738 44 15
• Embassy of Egypt in Brussels, 19 avenue de l’Uruguay, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 675.58.88; Email: embassy.egypt@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Egypt in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, February 19, 2016

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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