Prominent human rights organisation pioneered by WHRDs faces threat of closure
El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence and Torture is a prominent human rights organization which, since 1993, is providing support to torture victims and families of those who were subject to enforced disappearances in Egypt. Since 17th of February authorities in Egypt delivered a closure order based on “breaching license conditions” and have launched a smear campaign against the organization which has supported thousands of individuals and family members confronting immeasurably traumatic experiences.
On 17th of February 2016, three men, an architect and two policemen, entered the premises of El Nadeem Center and unduly and arbitrarily requested from Dr. Mona Hamed, an Egyptian WHRD and the Director of the Clinic, to leave the office. The lawyers negotiated the closure order and have extended it until 22 February 2016 to investigate the allegations brought against El Nadeem Center and provide justifications to the Ministry of Health.
The authorities in Egypt further escalated the aggression towards the organization via disseminating misleading information in an attempt to libel their meaningful contributions to the advancement of human rights in Egypt for more than two decades. On 24th of February 2016 the Ministry of Health released a statement discrediting the organization, which was published in Shorouk newspaper as well as in English on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). El Nadeem responded to all false accusations via an announcement.
El Nadeem Center has not only supported victims of torture and families of those who were subject to enforced disappearances. The center is at the heart of the women’s rights struggle in Egypt and is critical to fostering women’s rights in Egypt and the wider region. The center was instrumental in drafting a law to prevent and protect women from domestic violence and have been advocating for its acceptance by the Parliament. El Nadeem has also issued important publications on sexual violence in Egypt in an attempt to raise awareness on gender-based violence in the country.
The WHRD Mena Coalition has warned that the closure threat brought against the Center has wider implications for WHRDs in the region. The Coalition has stressed that “As El Nadeem center is mostly run by pioneering WHRDs of Egypt who have been on the frontline of pushing the gender agenda in the country, they have inspired their fellow activists in the region. The closure of the center will certainly send a message to the women rights movement in the region of potential implications they might face by their government if they continue their committed advocacy.”
The WHRD-IC* strongly urges the government of Egypt to cease all acts of harassment against the El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence and Torture. The WHRD-IC stands in solidarity with women human rights defenders in Egypt and the wider region, who continue their meaningful human rights advocacy at the face of such gruesome threats and restrictions.
Below: El Nadeem Center's co-founder Madga Adly's interview with Front Line Defenders (September 2013)
* The Women Human Rights Defender International Coalition is a resource and advocacy network supporting women human rights defenders worldwide. The coalition has 32 members, including Front Line Defenders.