Civil society organizations working in Egypt have been raided because of their funding sources and activities in recent days. On December 29th, Egyptian officials raided the offices of about ten international Egyptian non-governmental organizations, or NGOs. The United States has called for the Egyptian government to immediately end the harassment of NGOs, NGO staff, return all property, and resolve this issue immediately.
Civil society organizations perform critical work to support Egypt’s transition to democracy including most recently support for free and fair elections. The ability of civil society to work without government interference is integral to the health of any democracy. U.S.-funded organizations, including the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute do important work like training poll monitors, poll workers, and political parties in how to mount their campaigns. They do not support any individual candidate or party. All of their work is open to public and government scrutiny, including in Egypt.
The international community, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, has denounced the raid on NGOs in Egypt and spoken out in support of the critical work done by these organizations.
It is critical to Egypt’s on-going election and its future democratic development that non-governmental organizations be allowed to operate freely and independently.