Egypt: Travel ban against Aida Seif El-Dawla, Director of El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence

24/11/2016
Urgent Appeal

EGY 005 / 1116 / OBS 102
Restriction to freedom of movement
Egypt
November 24, 2016

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

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the travel ban imposed on Ms. Aida Seif El-Dawla, Director and one of the founders of El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence.

According to the information received, on November 23, 2016 Ms. Seif El-Dawla was informed by airport officials about the travel ban imposed against her. When she asked for explanation she was told to go ask the Prosecution for the reasons of this ban, since she is “either a defendant or wanted [to testify] in a criminal case”. No more information was given to her.

The Observatory recalls that both the imposition of travel bans and of assets freezes against human rights defenders and organisations is a common pattern of harassment increasingly used by the Egyptian authorities against human rights defenders in the country [1].

Moreover, the decision to impose a travel ban on El Nadeem Center’s Director 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 in the country, marked namely by a grave crackdown on civil society and a notable increase in cases of torture, deaths in detention and enforced disappearances.

The Observatory is extremely concerned about this new act of harassment against a member of El-Nadeem Center, only one week after an attempt to freeze the Center’s assets under administrative order [2] (the order was reversed on November 14, 2016), as these actions only aims at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities. Moreover, earlier this year El Nadeem Center has been repeatedly threatened with closure order by the Egyptian authorities [3].

The Observatory urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally lift the travel ban against Aida Seif El-Dawla and put an end to all acts of harassment against El Nadeem Center as well as 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.Guarantee in all circumstances Ms. Seif El-Dawla’s freedom of movement, by immediately and unconditionally lifting the travel ban imposed against her, as it aims only at sanctioning her legitimate human rights activities;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment against El Nadeem Center as well as against all human rights organisations and defenders in Egypt;

iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with Article 1; Article 5(b) and Article 12.2.

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.

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