Monday, February 06, 2012

Repression in Egypt

In the midst of growing violence, Egypt's rulers are cracking down on organizations committed to fostering democracy in the country. They are planning to try forty-three foreign employees of international NGOs for illegally working with Egyptian democracy activists. Among those groups whose offices have been raided are the International Republican Institute, which is loosely affiliated with America's Republican Party, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, affiliated with the Democratic Party.

My Gut Analysis: I can see wanting to drive the Republicans out of your country, but this is rather extreme.

Analysis: The Egyptian government claims it is just enforcing Egyptian laws by prosecuting unregistered international groups. They can also point to the rather unsavory reputation of some of the NGOs in question. For example, the International Republican Institute has been accused of involvement with the 2004 Haitian coup by critics including former US Ambassador to Haiti Brian Dean Curran.

However, human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have stated that this is just part of Egypt's effort to suppress democratic activists. Furthermore, the NDI points out that it did in fact register with the Egyptian government. The supposed law violations are just an excuse to further repress the Egyptian people.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that these actions could result in funding cuts to the Egyptian government. One hopes she'll have the guts to follow through and stop taxpayer money from going to these thugs.

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