Video | Civil society organizations are battling the state for survival: Mohamed Zaree

Head of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies’ Cairo office Mohamed Zaree is the only Egyptian among three nominees for the 2017 Martin Ennals Award.

Zaree is “leading the Forum of Independent Egyptian Human Rights NGOs, empowering its members, and coordinating their efforts to have a prevailing impact on vital human rights issues,” the Martin Ennals award website explains.

The award is one of the most prestigious in international human rights, and the jury is made up of representatives from 10 of the most prominent international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The other nominees for the award are LGBTI defender from El Salvador Karla Avelar and Cambodian human rights group Freethe5KH, five members of which have been detained for almost a year.

Zaree faces, along with several other prominent Egyptian rights defenders, charges of illegally receiving foreign funding in an ongoing court case. He was banned from travel in May 2016 in relation to the case.

Days before his nomination, Zaree described the crackdown on civil society in Egypt in an interview with Mada Masr, which he says is a “battle for survival.”

He discusses the challenges and disappointments civil society workers face in Egypt.

And expresses his hope that CIHRS is able to continue their work on several issues, including their judicial battle against Egypt’s archaic assembly law.

Filmed and edited by Rowan El Shimi


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