We join the chorus of voices around the world calling for solidarity with Mozn Hassan, the Founder and Executive Director for Nazra for Feminist Studies in Egypt. A Global Fund for Women board member since 2015, she also co-founded the Regional Women Human Rights Defenders MENA Coalition. Her long-time work as a feminist leader and organizer has created a growing movement of women and men who are demanding women’s rights and an end to sexual violence. Mozn has been the subject of legal persecution by the Egyptian government, and was most recently called before an investigative judge on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Although she was released on bail, she still faces serious charges for which she can be summoned to court. Her case is one of many that is part of the crackdown on activists who are critical of the Egyptian government.
The recent court summons is part of case 173, which is known as the NGO Foreign Funding Case. The charges Mozn faces include establishing an organization in violation of Egyptian NGO law, tax evasion, and receiving foreign funding with the intention of harming national security. The summons is evidence of further escalation of pressure from the Egyptian government, which is why we are speaking out about her unjust treatment.
Mozn and our sisters at Nazra have worked tirelessly to defend women’s freedom and rights, despite ongoing threats. Nazra, a prominent feminist and women’s rights organization whose efforts to strengthen the Egyptian feminist movement, defend women’s human rights, and end sexual violence, has made forward progress on women’s rights in Egypt as well as throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Their work is crucial for advancing human rights in a country that has seen increased repression against women human rights defenders (WHRDs) over the past three years. Mozn and Nazra carry on a legacy of a century of feminist activism in Egypt that the government continues to try and shut down but cannot.
Mozn has been the focus of the Egyptian authorities since 2016 – along with this court case, she has already been banned from traveling and her assets were frozen, along with Nazra’s. The memorandum that established Mozn’s frozen assets accused her of “inciting irresponsible liberation of women.” WHRDs are being characterized as criminals as a strategy to dismiss their work and keep them out of the public eye.
“The Egyptian government’s attempt to close the space for civil society and criminalize human rights defenders must end,” said Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. “The international community needs to hold authorities accountable and condemn these actions, for Mozn and for the other women human rights defenders who are facing similar unwarranted harassment by the government.”
To all who believe in justice and the intertwined fates of women around the world, we hope you will join our call to condemn the Egyptian authorities’ investigations against women human rights defenders and to demand that Egypt cease all harassment against citizens working to create a safe, civil society. Reach out to Egyptian embassies and consulates to urge them to stop the campaign of legal persecution against Mozn Hassan and to drop all charges against her. Now is the time to end the crackdown on all human rights defenders and critical civil society organizations immediately. Please share Mozn’s story on social media to let the government of Egypt know that Mozn is not alone in her struggle and that the world is watching.
Mozn Hassan, your leadership for women’s human rights has allowed hope and justice to bloom across Egypt, the Middle East, and North Africa. We stand by you, our sister and board member, during this crackdown, alongside the other women and men fighting for lasting change. At Global Fund for Women, we are committed to advocating for your right to defend women’s human rights in Egypt without threats of violence and imprisonment. By centering women’s experiences, you have legitimized the struggle of women to be powerful and heard in the home and in public. We send you much love and solidarity during this difficult time.