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On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, KISA and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies  welcome and support the Women’s Film Days, organised by the UN Country Team in Cyprus in the framework of the international “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign”. The festival is introduced by a film-screening on the situation in Egypt where our organisations recall that violence against women and girls remains of great concern, including against women human rights defenders.

The opening film of the UN initiative in Cyprus will take place on Monday, 26.11.2018 at the Goethe Institute, screening the powerful Egyptian film “678”, which is about three Egyptian women in search for justice and accountability as they face the daily scourge of sexual harassment in the public sphere in Egypt. Gender-based violence and particularly violence against women and girls is stillvery much at stake in Egypt .

We call on human rights activists, civil society and Cypriot society at large to show their support and solidarity with the Egyptian human rights defenders and all activists by attending the screening of the film 678.

Indeed, today, young women’s rights defender Ms Amal Fathy is in prison. Amal was jailed for two years by an Egyptian court after she published a personal video on Facebook, expressing frustration at being harassed several times in a day, including by a police officer guarding a bank, as she went about her business in Cairo.

The harassment and persecution faced by Ms Fathy are part of the general crackdown of activists, human rights defenders, NGOs and civil society at large in Egypt, especially in the last few years. More recently, at least 40 human rights workers, lawyers, and political activists have been arrested or forcibly disappeared since late October 2018, according to Human Rights Watch,including many who provided support to families of political detainees.

The “foreign funding case” (no. 173/2011) against NGOs continues to allow for silencing and intimidation of Egypt’s human rights movement through interrogations by the investigating judge, travel bans against at least 30 HRDs, asset freezes against 10 activists and 7 rights groups. Asset freezes have enable NGO closures like that of Nazra for Feminist Studies in 2018.

The draconian NGO law no. 70/2017, violates Egypt’s Constitution and international rights commitments. Its implementation is to put NGO funding, registration,activities, publications, internal administration and collaboration with any foreign entity, even a UN body, under State control.

We demand from the Egyptian Government:

  • To immediately release Ms Amal Fathy and all other women’s and human rights activists
  • To put an end to the persecution and repression of NGOs and civil society

We ask the Cypriot Government and the international actors:

  • To encourage the country to repeal the NGO law no. 70/2017
  • To link their cooperation with Egypt with the Human rights situation in Egypt

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