Leadership Council for Human Rights

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Egypt closes down IRI office in Cairo

As reported by the Daily Star Egypt staff and Reuters, the International Republican Institute (IRI) was ordered by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to suspend its activity in Egypt because, according to the ministry, the Institute and its representatives were interfering with the State’s internal affairs. The article refers to the recent interview published by the Nahdet Masr Daily where Gina London—the director of IRI in Egypt—said that there has been no political reform in the state for the past 25 years and the IRI was looking to speed up the country’s lagging democratization process. The Foreign Ministry also claims that the IRI had no licensed operation agreement with the state and until a legitimate permit is issued by Egypt, the IRI cannot continue its activities in the country.

Before their recent shutdown, the IRI had been conducting numerous training sessions in Cairo to spread democracy and in the fall of 2005 completed an election assessment of both the presidential and parliamentary elections.

According to this piece:

“The Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it had summoned country director Gina London and told her to suspend all activities until the organization, which monitors political systems abroad and promotes multi-party politics, receives a permit.”

Two weeks ago, IRI released a second report concerning the political nature of opposition parties in the country, excluding the Muslim Brotherhood. The report was designed to help give parties an idea of what is and isn't working in the country.”

The IRI also gives training to organizations in order to spread democracy and political activism. Just last week, IRI held a training session for Iraqi women in Cairo, which was designed to help promote NGO's for women in the war-torn nation.”

The ministry statement said London's comments to an Egyptian newspaper, in which she said political reform in Egypt had not been achieved in the past 25 years, were flagrant interference in Egypt's affairs.”

To read the article in full, click here


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