UN rights chief: Egypt NGO law could undermine freedoms

April 25, 2012 22:40

GENEVA - An Egyptian bill that would tighten control over non-governmental organizations could deal a serious blow to human rights and freedoms in the country, the UN human rights chief said on Wednesday.

The draft legislation could undermine the spirit of last year's uprising that ousted long-ruling president Hosni Mubarak, said Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights.

Pillay said the move against NGOs had been accompanied by personal attacks, threats and intimidation of activists, particularly women.

"Women activists in a number of countries are particularly vulnerable to vicious smear campaigns which are often designed to put them out of action," said Pillay.

"Verbal and physical assaults on female members of civil society are one of the first signs that the process of reform is starting to go sour," the former South African judge declared.

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