Transparency International expressed its concern over Egypt’s judicial crackdown on civil society today because it will harm efforts to combat corruption.
The ruling to sentence 43 civil society workers to prison and close four non-governmental organisations is based on allegations they used foreign funds without a license, according to press reports. The organisations had conducted mainly democratisation programmes.
“This verdict will effectively close the space for Egyptian civil society to work for change in a constructive and non-violent way,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “Egypt risks recreating the climate of intimidation that existed before the 2011 revolution and that prevented citizens from holding public officials accountable.”
Over 100 national chapters of Transparency International at their annual meeting in November 2012 condemned the recent trend of governments to “restrict the capacity of civil society organisations to operate … and curb the right of free expression.” The national chapters, independent local organisations, stressed that “Civil society organisations play an essential role in the fight against corruption as they are best suited to give a voice to the victims”.
Transparency International calls on Egypt to respect and fulfil its international obligations, and protect the rights to freedom of association and expression. Egypt ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2005. Article 13 obliges Egypt to “to promote the active participation of … civil society … in the prevention of and the fight against corruption.”
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