The Rafto Prize in opposition to Egypt’s regime of fear

Raftoprisen 2020Egypt.Photo: Raftostiftelsen / NTB

Almost ten years after the Arab Spring, the Rafto 2020 Award goes to a team of lawyers and researchers in Egypt who are fighting for human rights and against the regime of fear there.

The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) has been awarded the Rafto Prize 2020 for its courageous opposition to the regime of fear in Egypt, according to an announcement from the Rafto Foundation (Raftostiftelsen).

The ECRF was founded by Mohamed Lotfy and Ahmed Abdallah after the 2013 coup in Egypt.

They document, report, and create awareness of the serious human rights violations inside and outside Egypt.

They also provide legal assistance to victims of human rights violations.

Alarming situation

The Foundation’s justification for the prize states that it is time to focus on the alarming situation of fundamental human rights in the Middle East, ten years after the Arab Spring in the region.

ECRF has a team of over 50 lawyers and researchers and around 1,000 volunteers.

They provide party-politically independent support to defenders of human rights.

“To cope with this, they use the parts of the Egyptian judicial system that still work to defend the human rights of political prisoners, prosecuted human rights activists, protesters and victims of forced disappearances and torture, despite extremely difficult working conditions.

In this regime of fear, the ECRF’s brilliant work constitutes a beacon of hope for human rights,” it is stated in the award justification.

The UN must take action

It is also emphasized how the ECRF has contributed outside Egypt and to a number of reports, and that their efforts are an example to follow for human rights work in authoritarian regimes.

“The UN and UN member states must prioritize the rule of law in the region. We urge the world community to put pressure on the Egyptian authorities to end forced disappearances, mass arrests, and torture, and to open up to civil society and political disagreement,” the Rafto Foundation said in its press release on Wednesday.

The Rafto Prize will be awarded on Sunday, November 8, at The National Stage in Bergen.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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