- Activism Under Threat
- Women's Rights
- Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
Began Program: 2011
Four years after millions took to the streets and forced former dictator Hosni Mubarak out of power, Egypt’s revolutionary demands for freedom, bread, and social justice have gone largely unmet, throttled by a new authoritarian state. Thousands–including activists and journalists–have been jailed for their views, and hundreds have been condemned to death in hasty trials lacking due process protections. Egyptian law now prohibits protests, and new surveillance systems give the government unprecedented ability to monitor communications. Impunity for human rights atrocities committed by the police and the military, including the 2013 massacre of as many as 1,000 protesters in Rabaa Square, remains entrenched.
Despite the enormous risks involved, remarkably courageous activists continue to speak out about human rights violations and press for respect for democratic, inclusive and rights-respecting policies.
Egyptian civil society organizations are operating in a difficult and uncertain context. Threats facing human rights defenders and other activists have risen to unprecedented levels, with the government stepping up actions to intimidate and disrupt their work–including raiding NGO offices, detaining activists on trumped-up legal charges, and restricting their ability to receive funding from abroad. A proposed law governing NGOs would give the state even more far-reaching powers to interfere in their work, finances, and staffing. The Fund’s present strategy in Egypt is to help activists counter these threats and preserve space for civil society, employing lessons from our grant making programs in other highly-repressive environments and remaining adaptive and open to new strategies and tactics.