Travel bans against human rights defenders remain popular in the Middle East

November 10, 2016

Travel bans on human rights defenders are popular with all kind of autocratic regimes but seem to enjoy special status in the Middle East. The video clip above (part of a joint campaign by AI and HRW) focuses on Egypt and so does the statement by 6 other NGOs issued on 9 November.  They strongly condemn the travel ban against Malek Adly, prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer and director of the Lawyers Network of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR). But there is more:

The organisations denounce the systematic use of travel bans by the Egyptian government against human rights defenders and civil society in Egypt as a tool to crackdown against the independent civil society. This incident is part of a wider crackdown against human rights defenders, independent civil society, labor union movement and journalists, perpetuated by the Egyptian government that risks to bring to a complete eradication of the human rights community in Egypt. While civil society, human rights defenders, journalists and independent unions are the cornerstone of a pluralist and democratic society, and essential to the realization of national reform processes, the Egyptian government is heavily shutting down civic space and systematically violating the rule of law on security and counter-terrorism grounds. The recent ruling of the Cairo Criminal Court in favor of the asset freezing of prominent human rights organisations and human rights defenders is one of the most worrying developments. []

Earlier this year six organisations, including the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, have urged the Egyptian authorities to immediately lift the travel ban on 2016 Laureate Mozn Hassan to enable her to receive her Award.

Ahmed Mansoor – the 2015 MEA Laureate – was not allowed to come from the UAE to Geneva for his award []

In Bahrain enthusiastic use is being made of the travel bans, e.g. against Nabeel Rajab. See:, while more recently Front Line Defenders reported that on 2 November Mr. Mohammed Jawad was prevented from travelling to Morocco to participate in the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Conference by Bahraini border control officials. []

Also Israel makes use of this tool: e.g.



Egypt: JOINT STATEMENT CSOs strongly condemn the use of travel bans against human rights defenders in Egypt / November 10, 2016 / Urgent Interventions / Human rights defenders / OMCT

2 Responses to “Travel bans against human rights defenders remain popular in the Middle East”

  1. […] steps to address this situation and strongly condemn these acts which require urgent attention. [… […]

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