Egypt: Human Rights Violations in the context of Counter terrorism and National SecurityShimaa elbanna
Joint Submission for the 34th session of the UPR Working Group, November 2019
This UPR submission has been prepared by a coalition of the following Egyptian and regional NGOs:
1. Committee for Justice (CFJ)
2. Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms (Adalah)
3. Arab Foundation for Civil and Political Rights-Nedal (AFCPR-Nedal)
4. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
5. Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR)
6. Humena for Human Rights and Civic Engagement (Humena)
7. The Regional Center for Rights and Liberties (RCRL)
INTRODUCTION: HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE CONTEXT OF COUNTERTERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY
1. During the 28th session of the UPR in 2014, Egypt received several
recommendations regarding its counterterrorism activities, and supported all
of them. In particular, three recommending States – Burkina Faso, France,
and the Republic of Korea – all highlighted the need for Egypt to respect
human rights while countering terrorism.1 Even though Egypt supported these
three recommendations, until now the Egyptian State has not implemented
any effective laws or policies to ensure that its counterterrorism efforts fully
respect human rights principles and international law. In fact, several laws and
policies enacted since 2014 have exacerbated the human rights violations
committed in Egypt in the name of national security and counterterrorism, and
outrightly violate international human rights law.
2. The United Nations General Assembly affirmed that “any measures taken by
Member States to prevent and combat terrorism … must fully comply with
their obligations under international law … and relevant international
conventions and protocols, in particular human rights law”2, and that any
derogation of rights such as the right to assembly and the right to expression
is subject to strict standards, and that the rights to life and freedom from
torture, cruelty and inhuman and degrading treatment should be respected in
all circumstances. Egypt has failed to respect these principles, and has used
the pretext of counterterrorism to crack down on political opposition, repress
all forms of public dissent and criticism, and implement “security operations”
and judicial processes that violate the basic rights of Egyptians.
3. In 2015 the Egyptian government adopted two main laws in the context of
counterterrorism efforts, that not only violate international human rights law in
the way they are drafted, but also in the way they are applied, facilitating the
State’s repression of dissenting voices under the guise of national security.
“The 2015 Anti-Terrorism Law No. 94”
4. The definition of terrorism and activities listed as potential crimes under this
law are broad and very vaguely defined, and as such, the State can arbitrarily
designate the legitimate activities of its citizens, notably journalists and human
rights defenders, as terrorist acts. For example, in April 2017 Egyptian human
rights activist Mohamed Ramadan Abdel Basset was sentenced in absentia to
10 years in prison for criticizing the president on Facebook, as such posts
were considered a “terrorist act”.
5. Articles 40 and 41 of the law allow for the detention without a warrant of
suspects in terrorism cases for 24 hours, which can be extended to up to
seven days, violating their right to due process. The law also allows the State
to prevent the suspect from contacting his/her family or lawyer, facilitating
6. Article 8 gives immunity to the security forces if they use excessive or undue
force while enforcing the law, ostensibly violating the right to protection under
the law for any person who may been subjected to undue force. Human rights
groups in Egypt have documented several cases of security forces using
undue force with total impunity against people accused of alleged” terrorism
“The 2015 Terrorism Entities Law No. 8”
7. This law defines “terrorist activities” in vague terms such as “damage to
national unity and social peace”, giving the State wide discretion to accuse
any person or entity of being terrorists, and to restrict the work of political
parties, civil society organizations, journalists, activists and political opponents
that don’t align with the government’s views. The Egyptian government has
abused this law to stigmatize its political opponents by labeling them as
8. This law does not require any specific evidence to be presented in order to
officially designate a person or entity as a terrorist. A simple request from the
Attorney General to the Court of Appeal in enough to include a person or
entity on the official terrorist list, regardless of evidence. Once a person or
entity has been placed on the terrorism list, they are not entitled to directly
contest or appeal the decision.
9. There are currently more than 2000 people officially listed as terrorists by the
2017 Amendments to the Criminal Code
10.On 27 April 2017, the Egyptian president issued Law 11, which amended the
Code of Criminal Procedure and the law on appeal procedures before the
Cassation Court, ostensibly to ensure speedier trial proceedings (notably in
terrorism cases), but that in practice has removed several fair trial protections.
11.Ignoring objections from the legislation committee in the State Council, which
is tasked with reviewing legislation, article 277 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure was amended to give all courts total discretion as to whether they
hear or dismiss witnesses.
12.Article 289 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was also amended to permit
courts to use accept statements gathered during preliminary interrogations as
evidence, even though these statements were often given without the
presence of a lawyer.
13.Immediately amend all legislation related to counterterrorism and national
security, notably the 2015 Anti-Terrorism Law No. 94 and the 2015 Terrorism
Entities Law No. 8, to ensure that all laws are in line with international law and
the full respect for human rights.
14.Ensure that any amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure respect and
process due process rights, including for cases related to terrorism and
POLICING TACTICS and PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES
15.Under the pretext of counterterrorism, the Egyptian security forces have
engaged in numerous policing tactics and punishments against alleged
“terrorists”, but that have in practice violated the basic rights of those targeted
and been used to silence, repress, and control political opponents and critics
of the government.
Pretrial detention and enforced disappearance
16.Article 143 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that pre-trial detention
cannot exceed a period of two years, but many individuals have been kept in
detention without trial for longer than this. In addition, Egyptian law outlines
very specific conditions for when pretrial detention can be imposed (such as if
the suspect poses a flight risk or if there is a risk of evidence tampering), yet
the Egyptian authorities have ignored these conditions and have been using
pretrial detention widely and as a tool to silence legitimate criticism under the
pretext of national security.
17.For example, writer Hisham Gaafar was arrested in October 2015 and later
charged with alleged crimes related to “national security”. He has yet to face
trial, grossly violating the two year maximum for pre-trial detention, and in
addition has been subjected to solitary confinement and inhumane
18.The Egyptian authorities have not only held people in prolonged and
unjustified pretrial detention, but have also denied them access to their
lawyers and families during these detentions, holding them incommunicado to
what amounts to enforced disappearance.
19.Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms monitored the trial procedures in 27
cases between July 2013 and December 2017, during which 138 individuals
were subjected to enforced disappearance at some time during the
20.One especially egregious case is that of Ezzat Ghoniem and Azzoz Mahgoub,
who were arrested on terrorism-related charges on 1 March 2018. The court
ordered their probational release 4 September 2018. They were never
released, and 10 days later they were forcibly disappeared by the authorities.
Ezzat Ghoniem remained forcibly disappeared until 9 February 2019, when
lawyers saw him at the Cairo Criminal Court. Azzoz Mahgoub still remains
21.According to Egyptian law, under certain circumstances the authorities may
temporarily restrict the freedom of individuals suspected or convicted of a
crime, including but not restricted to house arrest, police surveillance, and
travel bans. However, since 2013 the Egyptian State has abused these
measures under the pretext of counterterrorism and national security,
particularly targeting journalists, activists, and human rights defenders.
22.In 2018 alone, the Egyptian Front for Human Rights noted that at least 174
political detainees were subjected to precautionary measures upon their
23.Article 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows for police surveillance to
be imposed in very specific cases, notably only against those who have been
convicted of a felony. However, the Egyptian state has been subjecting
individuals to surveillance and “judicial supervision” without providing
justification for the need for such measures of control. As such, it appears the
authorities are simply imposing these restrictions on critics of the government
in order to disrupt their daily lives and prevent them from engaging in their
legitimate work, since there seems to be no other justification for such
24.Examples include photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, also known as
Shawkan, and 213 people who were imprisoned in the Al-Fath Mosque case.
They have all been sentenced to five years of “police observation” after
having served their prison terms, subjecting large numbers of people to what
appears to be arbitrary restrictions to their basic freedoms by forcing them to
present themselves at the police station on a daily basis.6
25.These measures not only limit the ability of those affected to move freely, but
they also have serious negative impacts on their economic and social rights,
limiting their ability to study or work, and impeding their reintegration into
26.Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African
Charter on Human and People’s Rights, both of which Egypt has ratified,
everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own. The Egyptian
authorities have used the pretext of “national security” to curb this right by
widely imposing travel bans, even on people who pose no credible threat to
national security, notably against activists, lawyers, and journalists.
27.From June 2014 to February 2016, CIHRS and AFTE documented at least
217 people, Egyptians and non-Egyptians, who were detained at the airport
and either prohibited from travel or denied entry into Egypt.8 Many of these
travel bans were apparently imposed by decree and completely failed to
follow any due process.
28.All the travel bans, even those issued by judicial order, failed to meet the most
basic requirements of transparency in informing their targets of the ban’s
rationale and providing them with an official document stating this rationale.
Most often, individuals discovered they were subject to a travel ban only once
they were detained at the airport.
29.Immediately release or try individual who have been in preventive detention
for longer than two years, and ensure that the duration of pre-trial detentions
complies with articles 142 and 143 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
30.Ensure that trials and precautionary measures comply with due process rights
enshrined in the ICCPR.
31.Immediately lift all travel bans and police surveillance measures against
human rights defenders, activists, journalists and anyone being prevented
from free movement simply due to the exercise of their right to free
32.Ensure that all current and future travel bans are issued through transparent
judicial procedures and appeal processes are independant and fair.
33.Immediately end the practice of incommunicado detentions, ensuring that
detainees’ rights to access to their lawyers and families are respected.
TERRORISM CIRCUIT COURTS
34.In 2013 the Egyptian justice minister issued Decree 10412/2013 designating
five felony court circuits, increased to nine in judicial year 2018-2019, as
“terrorism circuits.” The jurisdiction of these courts is not clearly defined, but
they were ostensibly created to try cases linked to threats to national security.
The authorities can directly assign cases to these terrorism circuits as they
wish, and cases are seemingly arbitrarily transferred out of the courts of
original jurisdiction and assigned to the terrorism circuits.
35.Numerous activists and journalists have been prosecuted in these courts for
alleged crimes that do not qualify as legitimate issues of national security. For
example, on 24 February 2015 one of these courts tried and sentenced
political activist Alaa Abd El Fattah and 17 other people to five years in prison
simply for organizing an unlicensed demonstration. In September 2018
photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, was tried by one of
these courts and also received five years in prison for photographing protests
Violations of the right to a fair trial
36.Judges presiding over the terrorism circuit courts were handpicked by the
head of the High court of Appeals and have consistently handed down heavy
sentences (life imprisonment and death).
37.The seats of these circuit courts were moved to facilities operated by the
Interior Ministry, such as the Police Academy and Police Institute. The
courtrooms have been outfitted with glass cages where defendants are
seated, equipped with speakers under the direct control of the presiding
judge. This allows the judge to cut defendants off completely from speaking
with or hearing what is happening outside of the cage, leaving defendants
unable to hear and follow trial proceedings, court procedures, and their
defense and thus denied their fundamental right to due process.
38.These courts deny entry to most of the public and journalists without
legitimate justification, undermining the public nature of proceedings, a
principle enshrined in Article 14(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and
39.Trials in these courts rely fundamentally, and often exclusively, on police
investigative reports as independent proof of defendants’ guilt, and they issue
mass death sentences and prolonged prison sentences. For example, in the
February 2015 trial of the Kerdasa case, the fifth circuit of the Giza Felony
Court sentenced 183 people to death based solely on police reports.
40.The terrorism circuits have persistently violated the right of defense, holding
trials in the complete absence of defense counsel. The seventh circuit of the
Minya Felony Court, hearing the case of events in al-Adwa and Matay in
2014, sentenced hundreds of defendants to death, including children, in the
absence of any defense counsel. The Minya Lawyers Syndicate had refused
to appear before these courts due to their misapplication of the law, but the
court nevertheless continued proceedings without appointing alternate
defense attorneys for the defendants. In February 2015, the fifth circuit of the
Giza Felony Court also sentenced several defendants without attorneys to
death in the Kerdasa case without giving the defense counsel adequate
opportunity to mount their defense. In this case the Egyptian Court of
Cassation ruled that the right to defense had been violated and ordered a
retrial9, but the terrorism circuits continue to proceed with trials without
permitting defendants to be properly represented in court.
41.Article 124 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows the prosecutor to initiate
an interrogation without the presence of a lawyer in cases of flagrante delicto
or cases where speed is a necessity due to fear of loss of evidence. However,
denying individuals access to a lawyer during interrogations has become the
norm in cases allegedly related to terrorism or national security, even when
the situation does not warrant a time-sensitive interrogation without a lawyer.
Between June 2014 and December 2017, Adalah Center for Rights and
Freedoms monitored the trials of 28 cases linked to terrorism or national
security charges, and noted that 356 defendants had been interrogated with
the presence of their lawyers
42.These circuits at times appoint counsel for defendants who do not wish to be
represented by these court-appointed lawyers, but nevertheless continue with
the trial proceedings. For example, in November 2014, the Egyptian Lawyers
Syndicate issued a decision barring its members from appearing before the
fifth circuit of the Giza Felony Court in the trial of activist Ahmed Douma after
the presiding judge had referred three lawyers to the Public Prosecution for
questioning on charges of inciting rioting and failure to comply with
professional ethics, and the court forced Douma to advance with the trial with
a court-appointed lawyer against his wishes. The same circuit pursued the
same tactic in the April 2015 trial for the Rabaa operations’ room. When some
defense lawyers failed to appear in court due to personal emergencies, the
court refused to adjourn proceedings and appointed alternate defense
counsel, which mounted a purely formal defense consisting of simply denying
the charges, according to a ruling of the Egyptian Court of Cassation.10
43. Clearly define the jurisdiction of any special courts, and ensure that the
selection of judges, assignment of cases and lawyers, and court proceedings
all fully respect due process rights.
44. Immediately stop holding trials in isolated facilities that violate due process
rights, and transfer all current and future trials to the court buildings of the
Ministry of Justice, where journalists, civil society, and defendants’ lawyers
and families can all access the trail proceedings.
45. Ensure all persons facing trial have adequate time and facilities for the
preparation of their defense and full access to a lawyers of their own choosing
46. Immediately annul all verdicts and sentences handed down in trials that
violated the rights enshrined in article 14 of the ICCPR, and hold retrials
where necessary fully respecting all due process rights.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION & FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
47.Under the pretext of counterterrorism, the State has systematically targeted
journalists, preventing them from delivering free and open news to the
population and subjecting them to personal attacks. Journalists and bloggers
are the targets of many forms of human rights violations, including censorship
violating their right to free expression, prolonged provisional detention,
imprisonment after unfair trials, unjustified raids and confiscation of their
equipment, and even physical attacks.
48.Recommendations made during Egypt’s 2nd UPR cycle calling for the
amendment of the penal code to guarantee freedom of expression11 were not
implemented. Not only does Egypt’s penal code and legislation continue to
severely curtail free expression, but new laws were passed since 2014 further
consolidating control of the State over the media and journalism, and through
these laws journalists have suffered censorship and legal persecution.
49.Article 35 of the 2015 Anti-Terrorism Law No. 94 bans the publication of
information on terrorism operations that differs from the official State narrative,
subjecting individuals and media outlets to heavy fines for contradicting the
50.Article 36 of the 2015 Anti-Terrorism Law No. 94 states that journalists must
have special authorization to record or broadcast any trial proceedings related
to terrorism charges, greatly limiting the transparency of the courts and
subjecting journalists to heavy fines if they are found in violation of this law.
51.The 2018 Media and Journalism Regulatory Law No. 180 broadened the
number of topics subjected to censorship. This law permits the Supreme
Council for Media Regulation to block websites and remove content that
criticize or contradict the official State narrative on a number of issues.
52.Article 27 of the 2018 Cyber Crimes Law No. 175 criminalizes the founding,
administration, and use of any website considered in violation of the
ambiguously worded terrorism laws, including the publication of any
information that counters the State narrative on national security and terrorism
Censorship and raids
53.From 2014 until the present, the State has resumed the practice of
extrajudicially censoring newspapers and media outlets. Numerous media
websites have had content removed and newspapers have been prevented
from printing. Often times this censorship is ordered by “unnamed State
authorities”. There are several documented cases of a website being blocked
or the printing of a newspaper being suspended, and when media outlets
appeal to the State they are simply informed that the authorities do not know
who has ordered the censorship but no action is taken to reinstate the
54.In 2015, the state-owned Al-Ahram print house repeatedly halted the printing
of the privately owned Al-Sabah, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Mesryoon and Sout
Al-Oumma after they had published articles criticizing government officials.
55.From 24 May 2017 until now, human rights groups in Egypt have documented
more than 500 websites being blocked in Egypt, including the websites of
media agencies such as Mada Masr, Al-Bedaya and Al-Araby Al-Jadid.
56.In 2014, two news agencies – Yakin Network and Hasry – were raided and
their equipment was confiscated. In 2016, the headquarters of two private
media entities – Masr Al-Arabiya and Al-Tariq – were raided, as was the
journalists’ syndicate. Masr Al-Arabiya’s headquarters was raided again in
2018 by the police.
Arrests, prolonged detention, and unfair trials
57.Recommendations made during Egypt’s 2nd UPR cycle calling for the release
of all those imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression12
were completely ignored. Not only did journalists who were unjustly
imprisoned remain detained, but there were numerous new cases of judicial
persecution and imprisonment of journalists and media representatives simply
for having performed their legitimate work.
58.During the 2016 of Masr Al-Arabiya, the agency’s editor in chief “Adel Sabry”
was arrested and has been kept under pre-trial detention since then, along
with journalist Mostafa Al-Aa’sar, both for allegedly “spreading false news”
and “belonging to a terrorist group”. Since 2015, many journalists have faced
similar charges for apparently simply publicly contradicting or criticizing the
59.Recommendations made during Egypt’s 2nd UPR cycle calling for the
protection of journalists from threats and attacks13 were not implemented, as
attacks against journalists have continued with total impunity.
60.Throughout the year 2014, the independent human rights community
documented 148 cases of journalists being physically attacked. In 2015,
another 84 beatings of journalists were documented. In 2017, there were at
least 9 documented cases of physical attacks against journalists and media
professionals. Some of these physical attacks were committed by police
forces, and others were cases of private citizens attacking journalists while
citing claims by the State that these journalists support terrorism and threaten
national security through their work.
61. Immediately amend all laws restricting free expression, notably article 35 of
the 2015 Anti-Terrorism Law No. 94 and the 2018 Media and Journalism
Regulatory Law No. 180 in order to allow independent media to publish
information and opinions regarding the State’s counterterrorism practices and
62.Immediately release and drop all charges against those detained and/or
charged for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression, notably
journalists and media representatives.
HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACTS OF COUNTERTERRORISM EFFORTS IN THE SINAI
63.One of the areas of Egypt suffering particularly acute human rights violations
in the context of the State’s counterterrorism operations is the North Sinai.
Since October 2014, the people of the North Sinai governorate have been
living under a state of emergency under the pretext of a “war against
64.On 29 November 2017, President Sisi ordered the Chief of Staff of the Armed
Forces and the Minister of Interior to “exterminate terrorism in Sinai”, with no
mention for the need to respect human rights. As a result, the security forces
launched the “Comprehensive Operation” in North Sinai in February 2018,
which continues in effect until today with no end in sight.
65.The state of emergency and the counterterrorism operations have not only
resulted in unjustly prolonged restrictions to people’s freedoms and basic
rights, but has also given way to outright human rights violations at the hands
of State security forces. These violations include extrajudicial killings by the
military, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and violations of social and
Extrajudicial killings and injuries
66.Egyptian Front has tracked official statements by the military when they claim
to have killed or injured alleged terrorists in North Sinai. None of these cases
of injuries or deaths are ever brought before the courts or transparent
investigations to determine whether they were in fact caused by legitimate
uses of force, and based on testimonies by witnesses and victims’ families,
they appear in fact to be extrajudicial killings.
67.Between October 2014 and the end of 2018, Egyptian Front documented
military statements claiming a total of 2811 people killed and 88 people
injured by the security forces, all allegedly suspected terrorists. However, the
authorities have not disclosed the names of these individuals, nor provided
any evidence to justify their deaths or injuries. In fact, the authorities
themselves declare that in some cases the alleged terrorists were killed or
injured in premeditated military attacks against large groups of more than 50
people, where it is arguably impossible to distinguish if individuals in the group
are the suspected terrorists or ordinary civilians.
68.There have also been reports of at least four children being injured in attacks
by the armed forces, with no investigations or assurances for justice from the
authorities. On 11 May 2018, military forces at Al Daraeb checkpoint fired at
Abo Zare, South Sheik Zuwayed, injuring three brothers: Islam Awwad
Hassan (9 years old), Hassan Awwad Hassan (7 years old), and Belal Awwad
Hassan (4 years old). A similar situation occurred on 2 November 2018, when
the armed forces fired bombs at a family home near El Masoura, South
Rafah, injuring a three-year-old girl named Zeinan H. The reason for these
attacks is unclear, although such attacks are reported to be frequent,
allegedly because there are terrorists believed to be hiding in the area.
Nevertheless, no explanation or compensation was provided to the family,
and it seems no precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of civilians,
notably children, during these spontaneous bombings of residential areas.
69.Since the beginning of the Comprehensive Operation in February 2018,
Egyptian Front has documented 23 civilians killed by the armed forces in
North Sinai. The authorities consistently deny ever having been involved in
the death of any civilian. They have acknowledged only one of the 23 cases,
the killing of Mohamed Ibrahim Gabr, claiming he was a terrorist, but no
evidence has been presented or investigation opened into his death.
70.Another one of the 23 cases is the killing of seven-year-old Saleh Abd
elHameed alRakeeba who was shot in the head by a stray bullet from the
military forces in Rafah on 17 March 2018. There was no investigation or
attempt at ensuring justice in this case.
71.On 21 March 2018, a large crowd gathered in al Masoora district, West Rafah,
to buy wheat after a long period of food shortages. The military, apparently in
an attempt to disperse the crowd, shot randomly and ended up shooting two
young boys. 9-year old Abdullah Mohamed Amer died instantly, and 11-year
old Mohamed Ezz elDin dies the following day as a result of his injuries.
Again, no inquiry or attempt at justice was made.
Freedom of information and freedom of the press
72.Information on the situation in North Sinai, notably on counterterrorism
operations and their impacts on the population, is almost exclusively limited to
official statements from the security forces, most often lauding “victories”
against terrorists and refusing to share information or respond to questions
and concerns regarding human rights. Media and civil society organizations
are restricted from investigating and publishing information on North Sinai,
and they risk arbitrary arrest and heavy penalties linked to terrorism crimes if
they publish anything that counters the official State narrative.
73.One prominent example is the case of freelance journalist Ismael AlEskandarani, who was arrested and charged with “joining a terrorist
organization” and “spreading false news” solely on the basis of his journalism
work in North Sinai. He was tried in a military court and on 22 May 2018 was
sentenced to 10 years in prison.
74.Al-Eskandarani is but one glaring example among many of intimidation and
persecution of journalists in North Sinai, which has resulted in self-censorship
and a lack of independent information on the situation in the region.
75.According to official statements, between October 2014 and the end of 2018,
8226 people were arrested in North Sinai for “suspected terrorism” or for
“security reasons”. The whereabouts and status of the majority of these
people cannot be confirmed, as the authorities rarely provide transparently
information about these cases, but it is reasonable to believe that their due
process rights have not been respected, as is the case for similar cases in
other parts of the country and the few cases we have been able to follow in
Destruction of property
76.The security forces have adopted a practice of burning and destroying the
property of North Sinai residents, allegedly in the context of counterterrorism
operations, but without providing any justification or based on any legal
77.Between October 2014 and the end of 2018, the security forces have publicly
acknowledged burning 2649 motorbikes, 1572 cars, and 519 four-wheel drive
vehicles, and has destroyed 216 warehouses, 1431 houses, and 1139 huts
Violations of economic, social, and cultural rights
78.The social and economic crisis in North Sinai has escalated since 2018 with
the launch of the Comprehensive Operation, resulting in unprecedented food
and water shortages. Starting in February 2018, a curfew was imposed and
movement from and to North Sinai has been restricted allegedly due to
“security concerns”. With roads being blocked and the delivery of food and
other supplies from outside of North Sinai prohibited, a severe food shortage
has resulted. The military thus became the main supplier of food to the region,
but has failed to meet the needs of the population.
79.Since the launch of the Comprehensive Operation, North Sinai has suffered
from constant disruptions of internet, telecommunication, and electricity
connections, without warning or explanation. This has had serious negative
impacts, including on their ability to work and access basic services and
80.Access to education in North Sinai has also been severely restricted due to
the State’s counterterrorism operations. On 14 February 2018 the University
of Sinai postponed the beginning of the study period due to security concerns
linked to the Comprehensive Operation. The university eventually decided to
transfer students to other universities in the Delta outside Sinai. With public
transportation largely unavailable and becoming ever more costly, most
students have been unable to attend classes and continue their education.
81.The same has happened with highschools in North Sinai, leaving students
with no access to education.
82.Immediately end the state of emergency in North Sinai, and allow the free
movement of goods and people to and from the region.
83.Investigate all cases of extrajudicial killings in the Sinai and ensure that those
responsible are held to account through thorough investigations and
independent and transparent trials.
84.Immediately release all journalists and media personnel detained in the Sinai
for simply conducting their legitimate work, and ensure that national and
international media have access to the Sinai and are able to freely publish
information on what is occurring in the region without fear of reprisals.
ANNEX 1: CONTRIBUTING ORGANIZATIONS
This joint submission was prepared by the following organizations:
Committee for Justice (CFJ)
CFJ is an independent association for the defense of human rights based in Geneva,
Switzerland, established in 2015. CFJ’s mission is to defend victims of and persons
vulnerable to human rights violations with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa
region. CFJ seeks – through monitoring and documentation – to present a credible picture of
human rights abuses enabling the international community, CSOs and knowledge hubs to
provide alternative solutions concerning the human rights situation in the region, obtain
justice and reparations for victims, and counter impunity for perpetrators of human rights
Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms (Adalah)
Adalah is a non-governmental independent legal and human rights center established in
2014. It works to defend rights and freedoms through legal support and strategic litigation,
research, monitoring and documentation, advocacy activities and capacity building. It has
four programs in particular: Criminal Justice Program, Student Rights and Academic
Freedoms Program, Refugee Program and Minority Program.
Arab Foundation for Civil and Political Rights-Nedal (AFCPR-Nedal)
AFCPR-Nedal, founded in 2014, is a non-governmental organization and law firm certified by
the Bar Association in Egypt. The organization works to support human rights, and focuses
on four main areas: the death penalty, torture, freedom of expression, and enforced
disappearances. They provide legal aid for victims, publish studies on human rights, and
organize training sessions for lawyers and activists on both legal procedures and
documentation. At the end of 2015, AFCPR-Nedal joined the World Coalition against the
Death Penalty (WCAPD). In 2019 AFCPR-Nedal applied for ECOSOC consultative status.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
Founded in 1993, CIHRS is an independent regional policy institute & non-governmental
organisation, dedicated to the promotion of political & civil rights, justice and accountability.
CIHRS empowers local change makers and elevates their voices to advocate for the respect
of human rights and democracy in the Middle East & North Africa. Through advocacy,
networking, research and capacity-building, CIHRS aims to empower and elevate the voices
of local change makers. CIHRS enjoys consultative status with UN ECOSOC since 1997.
Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR)
EFHR is an independent non-governmental organization established in the Czech Republic
in 2017. EFHR works to improve the human rights situation in Egypt through research,
advocacy and legal work, including defending journalists, bloggers, activists, and human
rights defenders in court facing unjust criminal proceedings.
Humena For Human Rights and Civic Engagement (Humena)
Humena is a regional human rights organization, founded in 2018, working on advocacy and
research on human rights issues, notably in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Bahrain.
Humena advocates the adoption of human rights-based approaches (RBA) through
strengthening accountability, promoting non-discrimination, and strengthening partnerships
among NGOs in the region.
The Regional Center for Rights and Liberties (RCRL)
RCRL is an Egyptian non-profit law firm founded upon the law firm rule in February 2016.
The organization consists of lawyers and researchers working as human rights defenders in
Egypt and regionally, taking human rights principles as their reference and approaching
peaceful action as their method to ensure the dignity and the freedom of the individual. The
center provides free legal support to journalists and media professionals, conducts legal
analytical and policy papers and organizes advocacy campaigns for imprisoned journalists.
3 For more information, see https://cihrs.org/rights-organizations-and-public-figures-the-case-lays-thegroundwork-for-the-confiscation-of-the-right-of-academic-research-and-freedom-of-information-andinfringes-freedom-of-association-and-freedom/?lang=en
4 For more information, see https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde12/9847/2019/en/
%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D8%B5%D8%B11.pdf, page 4 (available only in Arabic)
6 For more information, see https://egyptianfront.org/statments/joint-statement/for-unconditionedfreedom-stop-political-use-of-probation-and-precautionary-measures/
7 For more information on the abuse of “police probation” and its multiple negative consequences, see
8 See CIHRS/AFTE report on the abuse of travel bans: https://cihrs.org/wpcontent/uploads/2016/11/Travel-Ban-Report-pdf.pdf
9 Ruling from the Court of Cassation (in Arabic) available here: https://manshurat.org/node/1434
10 Case no. 21819/85, ruling issued on 3 December 2015, page 5
11 A/HRC/28/16/Add.1, 2nd cycle, recommendations 166.208 (Australia), 166.209 (Brazil), 166.211
(Lithuania), 166.214 (Germany), and 166.221 (Mexico)
12 A/HRC/28/16/Add.1, 2nd cycle, recommendations 166.207 (Estonia), 166.215 (United States of
America), 166.216 (Austria), and 166.217 (Norway)
13 A/HRC/28/16/Add.1, 2nd cycle, recommendations 166.206 (Czech Republic), 166.212 (Tunisia),
and 166.218 (Luxembourg)